NOTE: Updated to clarify the restriction on unions using official school emails to conduct business.
NOTE 2: This post has been updated HERE.
The anti-union corporatist group the Mackinac Center is using public school email systems to encourage teachers to leave the Michigan Education Association, one of two major teachers unions in the state. I have confirmed that at least five teachers in the Livonia school district received the following email in their school email accounts:
From: Peter Boyd
Date: Mon, Jun 9, 2014 at 11:42 AM
Subject: August Opt-Out
To: [NAME REDACTED]@livoniapublicschools.org
My name is Peter Boyd, and I’m a high school science teacher in the Martin school district. Last year, I made the decision to resign from the Michigan Education Association. If you’ve ever thought of resigning, I want to share with you a free resource that makes it easy. It’s a website called AugustOptOut.org.
August is the only month the MEA says that its members can resign. Last year I was lucky enough to know about this ‘window’ and was able to exercise my right to opt out of the union under Michigan’s “Freedom to Work” law. This new law means that if you choose to resign from the union, you are no longer obligated to financially support the union in any way.
AugustOptOut.org provides the information you need to know about the opt-out process. You can print a form letter to send to the union informing them of your decision, and you can get the information on who to contact and when. It also provides answers to common questions that teachers have about their rights after they’ve resigned from the union. You can also hear from others like me who have decided to leave the MEA and why.
I know many of you will give this decision much thought this summer. I encourage you to use the resources available at AugustOptOut.org.
I think you will find it invaluable.
Thank you for work that you do, and I hope you have a great summer.
Mackinac Center for Public Policy
140 West Main Street
P.O. Box 568
Midland, Michigan 48640
This is a commercial message
The irony of this is that the MEA itself is not allowed in many school districts to use the public school email system to conduct union business and they may not use any school’s email system if the topic is considered “political”. And, thanks to legislation pushed by the Mackinac Center itself, they are not allowed to deduct union dues from teachers’ paychecks as was once permitted because it is a “use of public resources.” Still, this hasn’t stopped the Mackinac Center from using this same email system for its own anti-union political propaganda. They are apparently furious that only about 1% of MEA members didn’t remain members after Right to Work legislation passed.
MEA members are allowed to end their membership once per year in August according to long-established union bylaws, another point that infuriates anti-union groups in Michigan.
Apparently this use of school resources is fine with the Mackinac Center since it is working to damage the union.
If you received an email like this in your school account, please let me know in the comments or by sending me an email by clicking HERE.. You may need to check your spam file.
UPDATE: I have now confirmed that teachers in other school districts have also received this email in their school email accounts:
- Livonia Public Schools
- Southgate Public Schools
- Clarkston Public Schools
- Flushing Public Schools
- St. Charles Public Schools
- Airport Community Schools
- Lincoln Consolidated Schools
- Frankfort-Elberta Area Schools
- Lake Orion Public Schools
- Onsted Community Schools
- Forest Area Community Schools
- Coldwater Community Schools
- Eaton Rapids Public Schools
- Fremont Public Schools
- Goodrich Public Schools
- Owosso Public Schools
- Traverse City Area Public Schools
- Fenton Public Schools
- Lowell Area Schools
- Grandville Public Schools
- Charlotte Public Schools
- Haslett Public Schools
- Plymouth-Canton Public Schools
- Riverview Community School District
- Harrison Community Schools
- Dansville Public Schools
- Chippewa Hills School District
- Boyne City Public Schools
- Allendale Public Schools
- Pine River Area Schools
- Northville Public Schools
- Rochester Community Schools
- New Haven Community Schools
- Belding Area Schools
- Grand Rapids Public Schools
- Petoskey Public Schools
- Lakeshore Stevensville Public Schools
- Beaverton Rural Schools
- Kentwood Public Schools
- Manton Consolidated School
- McBain Public Schools
- Rockford School District
- West Bloomfield Schools
- Holly Area School District
- Redford Union Schools
- North Central Area Schools
- Allen Park Schools
- East Lansing Public Schools
- Byron Center Public Schools
- Holt Public Schools
- Charlevoix Public Schools
- Calumet Laurium Keweenaw Public Schools
- Montrose Community Schools
- Portage Public Schools
I will update the list as it grows.
Also, note that the Mackinac Center has responded in the comments, defending their action by saying “no public resources were used to send the above referenced email to publicly available school email addresses”. The same could be said about union emails being sent to teachers but legislation promoted by the Mackinac Center forbids it. The hypocrisy is, of course, blatant and obvious.
UPDATE 2: I’m told that these teachers’ email addresses were obtained through a Mackinac Center FOIA request. I’m sure that didn’t use up any school district resources. They did the same thing in August of last year, as well, by the way.
It’s interesting to watch this totally backfiring on the Mackinac Center. Rather than creating a groundswell of teachers eager to leave the MEA, it appears to be galvanizing them. What they are doing, in essence, is encouraging teachers to freeload by having the MEA represent them but without having to contribute to the effort. That type of thing doesn’t sit well with coworkers who DO contribute, in general.
I have received multiple comments like this one from my friend Nicole:
I got this email today! Stop spamming me and leave my union alone! We have 100% participation in our school and the MEA never spams me! Irritating and hypocritical.
Given how large the list of schools has gotten and how many teachers are involved, this is a clear waste of public resources, as defined by the Mackinac Center themselves. The rank hypocrisy is truly stunning.
Adding… there’s also some hilarious irony & justice in the fact that the vast majority of these emails went directly to the teachers’ spam folders.