Federal judge may block Michigan teacher union dues law

Jun 5, 2012

DETROIT (AP) - A lawyer says a Detroit federal judge plans to block a new state law that stops school districts from deducting union dues from paychecks.

Union lawyer Mark Cousens says Judge Denise Page Hood ruled from the bench Tuesday and plans to issue an injunction Wednesday. The law took effect in late March but doesn't affect districts that still have active contracts with teachers and other union-represented employees.

“Today’s ruling represents a significant step toward justice,” Michigan Education Association president Steven Cook said in a written statement.  “When the legislative and executive branches pass politically motivated legislation and act out of malice, we look to the courts for fairness. Today, we received a measure of justice.”

Unions say the law was retaliation by Republican lawmakers and GOP Gov. Rick Snyder after unions began collecting signatures to protect collective bargaining in the state Constitution.

The law passed by only two votes in the House and two in the Senate. Supporters say teachers and other school employees can pay dues and fees without payroll deduction.