Union Membership Dropping in Michigan Teachers Unions

Teachers unions membership has fallen 20 percent since right-to-work legislation has been enacted—although that may not be the only reason.

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Popular Right-To-Work law may be one of several factors.

Ever since Michigan eliminated mandatory union dues for workers, union membership in certain union has been falling.
According to Michigan Capitol Confidential, teachers unions membership has fallen 20 percent since right-to-work legislation has been enacted—although that may not be the only reason.

The Michigan Education Association lost 20 percent of its active members, going from 117,626 members in 2012 to 94,559 in 2015. The American Federation of Teachers-Michigan lost 21 percent, dropping from 23,388 members in 2012 to 18,585 in 2015.

Michigan’s new right-to-work law is only one of the likely explanations for the drop in union membership. Schools are also privatizing more noninstructional services to devote resources to their core mission. That means fewer unionized government jobs and more nonunionized private industry jobs. The number of students in Michigan’s public schools has experienced a multiyear decline, which translates to fewer teachers. There also has been steady growth in the number of Michigan public charter schools. Hardly any charters are unionized.

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