Bill to prohibit payroll dues deduction on a fast track

HB 4929, which prohibits the deduction of union dues by public school employers, is on a fast track since it was moved from the House Oversight, Ethics and Reform Committee yesterday. It has been referred to second reading on the House Floor and may move to third reading today with final passage on Thursday.

 Sen. Arlan Meekhof (R-West Olive) introduced a similar bill--SB 636--on Sept. 8.

Introduced by Rep. John Haveman (R-Holland), HB 4929 was approved on a 4-2 party-line vote. In support of his own bill, Haveman testified that schools shouldn’t be in the business of collecting dues. The bill specifically says the dues deduction is a “prohibited contribution to the administration of a labor organization.” The Michigan Chamber of Commerce endorsed the bill but did not testify.

Ironically, after previously voting to force school employees to pay 20 percent of their health care and imposing a 3 percent tax on their pension, Rep. Tom McMillin (R-Rochester Hills) says the bill would mean teachers would have more money in their pocket.

MEA is joined by other labor organizations opposing the bill. This is another unprecedented attack on school employees. Payroll deduction by a school district is not mandatory. It is a long-held practice that was bargained by local associations and their school districts as a matter of convenience. The cost of payroll deduction is minimal; making the necessary payroll system changes, however, will probably create an added cost to school districts.

HB 4929 does not put money in the pockets of school employees—it becomes an added financial burden. Personal time and budgets will now have to include the cost of writing checks and mailing dues money.

Contact your legislators immediately! Tell them this kind of legislation does nothing to enhance education or improve student achievement. It does not create jobs. It is just another in a long list of anti-union, anti-school employee, anti-middle class attacks.