Panel siding with teachers in dispute over quitting union

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A Michigan labor panel says public employee unions can’t restrict the time when members can quit.

The three-member Michigan Employment Relations Commission directed staff Tuesday to draft a decision that would be considered at a future meeting, possibly July 21.

The case involves four teachers and a 2013 law that makes financial support of unions voluntary. The teachers say they tried to leave the Saginaw Education Association in September 2013 but were told they could quit only in August.

Michigan Education Association spokesman Doug Pratt says the union doesn’t agree with MERC’s interpretation of law. He says the one-month window to resign gives the union time to make important budget decisions.

The Mackinac Center Legal Foundation says the MEA has “gone to extreme lengths” to keep people in the union.

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