Alexandria , VA — Reflecting a
growing trend of dissatisfaction with labor unions, teachers in Burt
Township, Michigan, overwhelmingly voted to decertify their state and
national union. The Burt Township Education Association ( BTEA),
representing the Burt Township School District in Grand Marais,
Michigan, voted to become a “local-only” union, freeing the
teachers of membership with both the Michigan Education Association (
MEA) and the National Education Association (NEA).
The recent vote, where 100 percent of the members agreed to call for an
election to decertify the union, came after the members of BTEA
determined that they were no longer happy with the representation and
ser vices they were receiving from MEA. Members of BTEA had been
considering making the change since November 2006.
“Teachers are looking forward to
making decisions regarding their terms and conditions of employment
without the outside interference and the excessive dues,” said
Brent Hammer, an elementary teacher.
The vote immediately made official BTEA’s departure from the MEA
and NEA. Their contract expired on June 30, so the BTEA will be
responsible for negotiating a new contract. Each member of the BTEA
will save about $650 per year by not paying state and national dues.
They will be receiving professional services, such as liability
insurance, from AAE.
“We are pleased to assist BTEA’s
efforts in becoming a local-only organization,” said La Rae Munk,
AAE director of legal services, who assisted the BTEA with the
decertification process. “Teachers should have the right to be
self-governed and make their own decisions regarding their
Dedicated to the academic and personal growth of every student, the
Association of American Educators is the premier educators’
network that advances the teaching profession through teacher advocacy
and protection, professional development and promoting excellence in
education so that educators receive the respect, recognition and reward
they deserve. AAE has members in all 50 states and welcomes
professionals from all education entities. http://www.aaeteachers.org.
This decertification is the latest in a nationwide mo vement of
teachers away from union affiliation toward a more self-governed
approach when it comes to collective bargaining. Teachers in Illinois,
Washington, California, and Iowa, among others, have all chosen either
self-representation or local union representation over membership in
the state and national unions.