Opt-Out Rout

Teachers trapped


Michigan's right-to-work law, approved in 2013, gives public employees the ability to opt out of labor unions without having to pay fees. But one such union—the Michigan Education Association (MEA)—has deliberately made the opt-out process as painful and confusing as possible.

Even though a state court ruled that teachers should be free to leave the union at any time, the MEA maintains that anyone who wants out must signal his or her intentions during the month of August. (Miss the one-month window? You're out of luck.) The union also set up an obscure post office box to coordinate opt-out requests and then did not publicize its existence. Resignation letters that were sent directly to MEA headquarters were not accepted.

The Mackinac Center for Public Policy, a Michigan-based free market think tank, has vowed legal action against the union if it doesn't back down.