Kindergarten teacher sues MEA

If she doesn't pay her union dues, a kindergarten teacher says the Michigan Education Association is threatening to turn her over to a collection agency and ruin her credit.
Oct 21, 2013


Miriam Chanski, 24, said she informed the MEA in May she was quitting the teachers union, didn't want their representation and would no longer be paying dues.

"At that point, I thought I was finished and I was out of the union," she said.

But in July, Chanski said she received a letter stating there was more to the process of opting out of the union.

"It surprised me that there would be more to the process — I had not heard anything else," she said.

Now the dispute has erupted into a legal battle because union leaders said the Coopersville kindergarten teacher didn't file the correct paperwork at the proper time meaning she will be in the union for at least another year.

Ottawa County union director Krista Abbot said there is a specific form teachers must fill out to quit the union. That form must be submitted between Aug. 1 and 31. Abbot said the rules are all spelled out in a form teachers sign when they first join the union.

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Sounds like someone didn't read the fine print. Right to work does exempt you from being part of the union; however if you have already signed union paperwork, you better know what you signed and the process for getting out of your contract. I know that MEA paperwork clearly states that your "open enrollment" period is in August. Also, the MEA sent you paperwork in JULY...July comes before August...I hope they teach that in kindergarten. Ms. Chanski your young "I know everything" mentality is not a very bright one. You have no lawsuit Ms. Chanski...oh by the way...please don't ever complain about any conditions in your job or your pay once you quit the are giving up the right to do that for your right to work.


My feelings exactly. If she doesn't like her job - she can just go right on down to Manpower Temporary Services for better benefits, pay raises, office supply account, paid sick and snow days, Christmas, mid winter and spring vacations. Seeing how she doesn't like unions - go get a job where there are no unions. They would love to have her.


Not sure why she really wants to do that? School district Policies and company policies are not enforced in the courts. Contracts are enforceable in court. Thats why administrations/company's hate union contracts. Policies can be enforced differently from employee to employee at managements discretion with favoritism and nothing can be done by anybody -its just tough toe nails. But a contract can be enforced. A contract is her only protection if administration turns on her - which they will in time.


They should teach you to read in school. Amazing some one who educates our children & grand children and has no idea you are to read something in it's entirety before ever laying your John Hancock on it. Business 101, you miss that class Miriam? Better woman up and pay your dues and fix it next year (ever talk to your co-workers about this before you came up with this idea to do it willy-nilly?). It's called a contract for a reason.

Ymelda Brown

I guess the best thing to do about the issue is respect her decision and just wait what will happen or maybe wish her luck for what she had chose. - Aldo Disorbo

Barry Soetoro

Maybe you could give her a job spamming.


ahhh...another union rat eh?

Barry Soetoro

That looks like pretty nice digs for a 24 year old. Where do I sign up to be one of these kindergarten teachers?


C'mon....fifty bucks says she's living with mom and dad.


and that has anything to do with getting out of the union? move along least she has a job


I feel bad that this woman who is choosing not to belong to the MEA union that worked hard to negotiate the benefits and wages she is receiving. She will definitely be a silent outcast and the talk of the school system and systems. This will be a trend in the union world as young people want it "all" today! I feel that there should also be separate pay and benefits scale for a person that decides not to belong to a union and still is protected by the union! Being a retired 35 year skilled trade union worker I'm sure my view on this topic will be slammed hard in the "TRI-CITIES" area.... Enjoy your pay and benefits Miriam!!!!!!!


Certainly she should plan on (and presumably is planning on) negotiating her own wages and benefits, and they might be lower. If her bosses think she does an outstanding job, maybe they will be higher.


Union Schmoonion...there that settles it. I agree she should have read the fine print; know what you are signing before you put your X on the line, stick with the union for now and next August you are free to leave, you got the word out and I imagine likeminded folks are reading up to see what they signed as well.


Union Schmoonion?? That settles it??? I don't think so!!!


yep, cults don't like it when members leave


Maybe you should switch from your tighty whiteys' to boxers...they seem to really be restricting your thought processes.


way to be a contributing part of society for the day, go get a job!


This IS his job.


Yeah, this is my job!


The union is not threatening to ruin her credit, she is trying to ruin her own credit.

This would be like me buying a car with a loan, saying I no longer want the car and just stop paying. Then complaining when they still want payment.

She received a letter in July, seems like at that point she would find out the information necessary to opt out. She had part of July and all of August to figure this out. She gets and F for effort.

It would be interesting to follow her through her career and see how her pay and benefits stack up. There is no way the union would ever allow her to make more.


When she resigns from the union membership, she is still fully covered by the collective bargaining agreement that was negotiated between her employer and the union, and the union remains obligated to represent her. Any benefits that are provided to her by her employer pursuant to the collective bargaining agreement will not be affected by her resignation from the union.


That is generous of the union. I wonder if they will amend their negotiation practices such that they only represent those who have chosen to be represented.


Meisterblue is correct. Right-To-Work, baby!

This gal has an agenda. She should quietly continue to pay her dues, bide her time and follow the proper protocol next August, when she will be free and clear to allow her union membership to expire, yet still receive the benefits that lie therein.

I think she is watching too much Megyn Kelly Fox Hews.


Generous, no. That is the law. Read it!!


That is the unfortunate part of RTW. I personally have ZERO problem with RTW if the person choosing not to be part of the union has ZERO involvement with the union. The employee can negotiate their own pay, days off, insurance, etc. This is where RTW is union busting...who can receive services and not pay for them?!?! I want to go to Grand Haven Golf Club, enjoy all of the perks of membership, but not pay anything. Sounds absurd right? I agree that this woman has an agenda...the MEA has made it clear what your benefits are though as a "member in good standing" on their website. Also, I did look at the MEA membership application today and it is VERY clear that you make your "election" of membership between Aug 1 and is stated in multiple locations actually.


Which law? The right-to-work law? I do want to find it and read it - it seems very strange that the law could require the school district to give a non-union member all the same pay and benefits considerations as what the union has negotiated.


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