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Grand Rapids teacher sued by her union

7:49 PM, Jan 6, 2011   |    comments
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Grand Rapids.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) - A Grand Rapids teacher is taking a stand against her union after she says she wasn't well represented.  Now she's being sued in small claims court for failing to pay her dues.

"I was a little put out by his words in his email, calling us to fight with the district and it was a war on terrorism. " 

Letters made special education teacher Marjorie Hayward so angry she hasn't paid her dues.  It's that action that landed her in small claims court. 

Hayward says, "This wasn't right the way it took place, and it isn't right that the union that's supposed to be representing me still isn't representing me by bringing me to small claims court."

Hayward says her union didn't represent her well.  During contract negotiations Hayward says the union was more interested in fighting and asking for more money than settling a contract agreement. 

"It was sort of like deal or no deal.  The money just kept dropping.  We ended up with a smaller deal."

The union, the Grand Rapids Education Association, says they filed claims against five people, everyone settled except Hayward. 

Tim Nendorf, Michigan Education Association says, "People have to meet our obligations.  We gave two years to try and allow people to meet those obligations.  At a certain point unfortunately it had to come to this and take this action."

Because Michigan is not a right to work state, teachers who opt out of the union still pay nearly all the dues according to Hayward, and she thinks that is not right.

While the judge in the case understood, he says without a right to work law, Hayward will have to pay.

Hayward says, "I may not want to take it a step further, but I might.  I might file a lawsuit against the union, and see where that goes. "

The union says they want to work with Hayward and have an open door policy.

By Sarah Barwacz

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