07/16/2013

Court tosses Mackinac Center-backed challenge to contract

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The AFT applauds a Michigan circuit court decision to dismiss a lawsuit challenging a contract between the Taylor Federation of Teachers and the school system—one of several collective bargaining agreements that AFT Michigan affiliates negotiated and ratified before the state's new so-called right-to-work law kicked in.

The lawsuit, brought by the anti-union Mackinac Center for Public Policy and three teachers, was dismissed by the court, which said any challenge rightfully belongs before the Michigan Employment Relations Commission. The AFT affiliate urged the court to dismiss, in part because provisions in the law did not take effect until the end of March—almost a month after the school district and the AFT affiliate finalized a new 10-year deal.

"Allowing a challenge to a law that hadn't yet taken effect would have been like testing kids on materials that haven't been introduced in a classroom," says Linda Moore, president of the Taylor Federation of Teachers. "It should be up to local community public schools to determine best practices for a school district. This is a shameful example of special interests trying to wedge themselves between the rights of hard-working educators in our state."

The Michigan right-to-work law, passed Dec. 10, 2012, applies to workers who were not covered by a contract on March 27, 2013, the date the law took effect. Prior to that date, several AFT Michigan unions successfully negotiated contracts with boards of trustees and boards of education that became effective before the law kicked in. [Taylor Federation of Teachers]

July 16, 2013