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Published: Thursday, 5/9/2013

Union-dues ruling overturned

Mich. schools free to stop paycheck deductions


DETROIT — Michigan public school districts can stop collecting union dues from teachers and other employees through payroll deduction, according to a 2-1 federal appeals court ruling.

The U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati on Thursday overturned a Detroit federal court preliminary injunction against Michigan’s Public Act 53, which banned the automatic union dues deductions from paychecks.

Supporters said the law put more money in teachers’ paychecks, and they could then pay their union dues if they wish.

Opponents consider it another attack on organized labor in the state by Michigan’s Republican-controlled Legislature, and Republican Gov. Rick Snyder.

The Michigan Education Association and other unions challenged the constitutionality of the state law in federal court in Detroit saying in a complaint that it “selectively targets public school employee unions and their members by outlawing dues deduction for them only.”

Their complaint also said payroll deduction is the most effective and efficient means for workers to financially support their unions and has been used for decades in Michigan.

U.S. District Judge Denise Page Hood issued the preliminary injunction in June, 2012.

That was appealed by the state attorney general’s office.

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