For Immediate Release
Nov. 7, 2013
Contact: Dan Papineau
LANSING, Mich.—Sen. Jack Brandenburg, R-Harrison Township, along with Senate Majority Floor Leader Arlan Meekhof, R-West Olive; Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker, R-Lawton; and Sen. Hoon-Yung Hopgood, D-Taylor announced Thursday a new Senate committee. They were joined by teachers from across Michigan and other interested parties.
In an effort to examine the implementation and application of laws passed by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Rick Snyder, the Michigan Senate Compliance and Accountability Committee has been created. This committee will also focus on instances in which the rights of individuals are being affected due to laws being violated or potentially misinterpreted.
Brandenburg offered the following statement regarding the new committee:
“Legislation passed by the Legislature and signed by Governor Snyder gives Michigan’s workers the choice to join a union or not; membership cannot be a condition of employment. Provisions were made at the time for pre-existing contracts that contained union security clauses.
“In addition, the legislation also granted employees the right to opt out of union membership. Not granting these rights to any employee would be a direct violation of Michigan law.
“Recently, a group of at least seven teachers from different areas of the state who have encountered intimidation when they exercised their right to opt out of their Michigan Education Association membership have come forward. It has been alleged that this group of teachers was told they could not leave the union because it was not during the ‘August window.’
“The August window has previously been used as a ploy to limit the ability of their members to opt out of their union except during the month of August. Impeding them from leaving the union, as they are not bound by a union security clause, was a violation of the Freedom to Work Act. Intimidation, threats and strong-arming tactics by groups including, but not limited to, the MEA will not be tolerated. It is our job as legislators to make certain our laws are being enforced and a duty to ensure the rights of citizens are not being infringed.
“The hard-working residents of Michigan deserve the right to perform their job without such threats or intimidation tactics to force them to become, or remain, members of a union.”