Teachers in Michigan are testing the new Right-to Work law by deciding whether to stay in their union. Michigan has one of several Republican-controlled legislatures that passed laws making union membership and dues voluntary. Many of the 112,000 active members have until the end of August 2014 to decide whether to stay. About 1,500 left the union last August during an early opt-out period. Some teachers feel that the $1,000 spent in union dues per year would be better saved since oftentimes teachers work several years without a raise in salary.
Michigan’s new law has not affected the state’s other unions yet as their collective bargaining agreements will not reach the opt-out period until 2015. Proponents of the law say that it increases workplace freedom and helps attract business.
Since 2011, more than one-third of Wisconsin’s teachers dropped their union. In contrast, Alabama, which is also a right-to-work state, has been able to retain about 80 percent of their members.