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For Immediate Release
July 9, 2007
Contact: Heather Reams
Director of Communications

Michigan Teachers’ Union Decertifies from State and National Union

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 employment.”

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.  

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.