Meekhof announces new Senate committee

Meekhof announces new Senate committee

Lansing—Senate Majority Floor Leader Arlan Meekhof, R-West Olive; Sen. Jack Brandenburg, R-Harrison Township; Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker, R-Lawton; and Sen. Hoon-Yung Hopgood, D-Taylor gathered at the Capitol on Thursday to announce a new Senate committee. They were joined by teachers from across Michigan and other interested parties.

The Michigan Senate Compliance and Accountability Committee has been created to examine the implementation and application of laws passed by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Rick Snyder. This committee will also focus on instances in which the rights of individuals are being affected due to laws being violated or potentially misinterpreted.

Meekhof offered the following statement on the establishment of the committee:

“Due to legislation passed in 2012, workers in Michigan have a choice: join a union or don’t; membership cannot be a condition of employment. When the law was signed, some employees were under pre-existing contracts that contained union security clauses. Provisions were made for these contracts. 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.

“The first potential violation that will be addressed by the committee will be a group of at least seven teachers from various areas who have encountered stonewalling or intimidation when they exercised their right to opt of their Michigan Education Association membership. 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.”

“Previously, the MEA has used the August window to limit the ability of their members to opt out of their union except during the month of August. These teachers were not bound by a union security clause, and impeding them from leaving the union was a violation of the Freedom to Work Act. The teachers in question have also allegedly been strong-armed with threats and intimidation, such as being told they would face forced collection of dues and adverse reflection on their credit scores. We have the responsibility to make certain our laws are being enforced and a duty to ensure the rights of citizens are not being infringed. This is why this committee has been established.

“Allowing tactics like those being employed by the MEA to stand sends the wrong message to Michigan workers. It sends the wrong message to Michigan job providers. It sends the wrong message to workers or businesses looking to locate in Michigan.

“Teachers and workers have every right to perform their jobs without intimidation and without onerous and illegal tactics that force them to become, or remain, members of a union.”