EXPLANATION OF LEGAL ACTIONS NECESSITATING MOVING TO ELECTRONIC DUES
Public Act (PA) 53 took effect on March 16, 2012. Among other things, PA 53 prohibits public school employers from payroll deducting dues. Because the law only affected public school employees and not other public employees, MEA, along with AFT/Michigan, Service Employees International Union, AFSCME, and UAW filed a lawsuit in federal District Court in Detroit on April 4, 2012.
On June 11, 2012, United States District Judge Denise Page-Hood issued a preliminary injunction against the enforcement of PA 53. This had the effect of allowing school districts to continue to payroll deduct union dues on behalf of school employee unions, including MEA. The Attorney General, on behalf of the state of Michigan, appealed Judge Page-Hood’s decision to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. The Attorney General asked the Court of Appeals for a Stay of the Preliminary Injunction, which was denied by the Sixth Circuit on December 27, 2012. Thus, while the appeal was pending, the preliminary injunction remained in effect.
On May 9, 2013, a three-judge panel of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals decided by a two-to-one majority to overturn the decision of Judge Page-Hood. The two judges who supported overturning the lower court’s decision were appointed to the court by former President George W. Bush, while a dissenting opinion was issued by a judge appointed by President Obama.
The coalition of unions has decided to exercise its right to ask for a review by all of the judges of the Sixth Circuit and a motion for rehearing will be filed by the deadline of May 23. While the motion for rehearing is being considered by the Court of Appeals, the preliminary injunction is still in effect. However, the Attorney General has advised that he will be seeking to have the preliminary injunction terminated immediately. There is no time limit for the Sixth Circuit to decide whether to hear our request for rehearing. In the worst case scenario, the preliminary injunction could be vacated in a couple of weeks and dues deduction could be illegal again when there is no contract in effect.
Even if the Sixth Circuit decides to hear the case before all of the judges, there is no guarantee that we will be successful. Moreover, there will likely be a challenge by the Attorney General to continuing dues deduction under contracts bargained while the preliminary injunction was in effect and there is no guarantee that we will be successful in continuing dues deduction under those contracts. Thus, we need to ensure that our energies are directed to implementing electronic dues in all locals.
Got Questions about e-dues?
Q: Why is the MEA doing this now? Why can’t we just use payroll deduction as we’ve always done?
A: (see page 1 details) Summary: MEA is forced to move from payroll deduction because it is now illegal under PA 53. In May the courts lifted the stay that MEA had legally presented to the courts.
Q: What options for dues payment exist for members?
A: Members can pay their dues a variety of ways:
- Sign up to have it automatically charged to a Visa or MasterCard
- Sign up to have it automatically deducted from a bank account (ACH)
- Pay on line through the Members Only Website – instructions included in materials
- Contact MEA Membership to make a payment over the phone
- Can pay by check (least preferred due to the amount of processing), if this method is chosen, please have member indicate this on the top of the form and not complete the ACH or credit card area.
- Members can pay their dues in full up front, called a lump sum payment. Members should completed their E-Dues form and indicate on the form lump sum payment.
Q: Will I need to keep resigning up annually or just do this once?
A: You would only sign up one time. Unless you preferred to change the method of payment, you’re all set once you register for e-dues. The Dues Authorization form is an ongoing commitment – You will only have to complete this form one time.
Q: Will the amount I pay in dues ever change or is the same from now on?
A: The amount of dues deducted will vary over time, due to changes in salary and other factors (such as MEA RA actions).
Q: If I want to register myself on-line where to I go and what steps do I need to take?
A: Go to www.mea.org > click on MEMBERS ONLY > select HERE to login. Enter name and password on file with MEA > click on GO. If you need to create a password, reset a password click on create or reset your login and password > enter required information
Q: Where is my routing number and account number found on my check? How do I know which is which?
A: Please note for members choosing ACH, they should not get their routing and account number information from a deposit slip. Additionally, the routing number is 9 digits.
Q: If I’m paying by credit card do they need additional information besides my account number?
A: Yes. For members choosing to use a credit card, the 3 digit security code is found on the back of the card on the right hand side of the signature line. Also, we only accept Visa and MasterCard.
Q: Can I pay in a lump sum?
Q: When are lump sum payments due?
A: In September.
Q: To whom do I make a payment or check payable to for lump sum payment?
A: Payable by check, credit card or ACH (debited from checking or savings) Payable to MEA
Q: Can I choose to just write a personal check every month and mail it to the MEA? Which address?
A: Yes. Checks should be sent to MEA Membership PO Box 2573 East Lansing, MI 48826-2573
Q: Can I pay on-line through MEA Member Only website?
A: Yes, members have the option to pay on line through the MEA’s Members’ Only website. Your monthly invoice is found there.
Q: When will the first payment of union dues be taken out of my account if I’m on e-dues banking?
A: On, or about, the 25th of each month. If that’s on a holiday or weekend, debit will occur on the next business day.
Q: When will the last payment of dues occur?
A: The is currently schedule for Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Q: If my information isn’t in the system in September what then?
A: You are still a member and as soon as current salary data for SY2012-13 is in the MEA system dues will be withdrawn based upon that year’s schedule A salary.
Q: If I missed having September payments come out how do I get caught up?
A: Missed payment amounts would be spread out over remaining payments in SY2013-14 cycle.
Q: Will I still me a member if I didn’t opt out but payments weren’t being made as scheduled?
A: Yes but you will be arrears and contacted by the MEA or local union to get caught up.
Q: When does my 2013-14 union membership begin and end?
A: September 1, 2013 through August 31, 2014.
Q: Can I just pay my local and not the MEA?
A: No. You cannot selectively be a member of one and not the other two unions. Membership dues are for all three levels. You can make full payment for all dues NEA/MEA/PEA and your local gets its share from MEA.
Q: How will I know the MEA is getting my payment for dues each month?
A: On the Members Only website or on your personal bank statement or credit card statement.
Q: If I believe there’s an error in payments who do contact and how?
A: MEA Membership 1-800-358-8536. Anyone can help who answers at the call center.
Q: Can I pay in advance, as soon as May or June, for my 2013-14 dues?
A: Yes, and MEA will create a credit on your record and then apply that when the first invoice is generated in September.
Q: How will I know MEA has my most up to date phone contact, personal email and home address information?
A: Update their personal information at the top of the E-dues Authorization Form, or change it on-line yourself at www.mea.org > MEMBERS ONLY and update personal information. It’s very important that MEA have updated information and a personal email address ! Most of the E-Dues communication is electronic and sent to a home email address so please verify and correct all personal information on your E-dues.
Q: If I donate to PAC is that a one-time payment or does it reoccur?
A: Your choice. Just verify if the PAC deduction is one time only or a reoccurring monthly amount.