News Release: Candidate – Teacher Rejects NEA Dues Hike, Threatens Lawsuit

Candidate – Teacher Rejects NEA Dues Hike, Threatens Lawsuit
Tim O’Brien
CONTACT: Tim O’Brien

A recent dues hike by the National Education Association has run into a major obstacle — opposition and even a possible lawsuit from the Libertarian Party of Michigan candidate for U.S. Senate, Michael Corliss.

“The NEA claims that the increase is, in part, ‘earmarked to fight harmful ballot proposals,'” said Corliss, a teacher in the Livonia Public Schools system and NEA member. “It appears that the plan is to oppose voucher proposals,” he continued. “I happen to agree that vouchers is a bad idea. But that’s not the point. The Supreme court has already ruled in the Beck case that a union may not use dues for political action without the approval of individual members.”

The state of Michigan has passed legislation which applies this decision to all union members in the state.

“We are investigating the possibility of a lawsuit to force the NEA to comply with Beck,” Corliss said. “They need to abide by the Constitution, the same founding document that its members are charged with teaching to the students of this country.”

Corliss said he does not fear a negative reaction from his coworkers at Stephenson High School or within the school district. “I have been active in my union since I first became a teacher,” said Corliss. “The members know me, and they are very fair-minded. They will understand that this is about Constitutional principles, not a particular ballot question.”

Corliss will be on the ballot in November as the Libertarian nominee opposing Republican Spence Abraham and Democrat Debbie Stabenow. “This may be the closest Senate race in the country this year,” Corliss pointed out, “and my campaign will definitely have an impact.”

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