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Jun
2014
18

Going Postal: Mackinac Center’s Anti-Union Teacher Coercion Campaign Hits Michigan Mailboxes

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Teachers across the state of Michigan this week are receiving postcards from the anti-union Mackinac Center suggesting they use their summer vacation to opt out of the Michigan Education Association (MEA).  The move comes a week after the Mackinac Center sent emails to teachers in over 50 Michigan school districts informing them of their ability to opt out of the MEA and directing them to a website called AugustOptOut.org.  That move was scrutinized because of the manner in which the interest group acquired the emails, through a Freedom of Information Act request.

The August Opt Out campaign is the latest effort by the Mackinac Center, a major player in the state’s introduction of “Right-to-Work” legislation, to force a slow economic bleed of the MEA. But the bully tactics haven’t been terribly effective. Following the enactment of “Right-to-Work,” less than one percent of MEA members chose to quit paying union dues.  In the private sector, the impact has been similarly minimal.

As Eclectablog, who broke the story, explains, the language used in the mailer shows the distorted lens through which the Mackinac Center views the teaching profession:

The “handwritten” note at the bottom says, “At the lake and don’t want to look at your computer? Don’t worry, the site is mobile friendly!” The implication here is that teachers spend their summers lounging on the beach on an extended vacation the rest of us don’t enjoy. This, of course, is an absurd characterization since most teachers spend their summers doing school-related work like professional development or even working a second job to supplement the meager income they make.

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