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Lawmakers begin review of alleged right to work violations

Lawmakers in Lansing may have to cut revenue sharing with local governments to fill the $1.8 billion budget hole.

Republican state lawmakers say they want to get to the bottom of alleged violations of Michigan’s new right to work law.

A newly-formed state Senate committee Wednesday heard testimony from three teachers who are part of a lawsuit against the Michigan Education Association (MEA). They say the union bullied and threatened them when they tried to leave.

Sen. Arlan Meekhof (R-West Olive) chairs the Senate Compliance and Accountability Committee. He says the MEA also failed to alert teachers about how and when they could leave the union.

“The lack of information of folks that were supposed to be representing them and having their best interests (in mind), I think we’ve shown by the testimony that that hasn’t occurred,” Meekhof told reporters after the hearing.

Although, he did not claim the union was required to distribute that information under the right to work law.

Meekhof also denies claims that the panel was formed just to scrutinize unions over right to work issues.

“We didn’t create it just for this law. We’re going to look at a number of different things,” he said without going into any details. He says he wants to let the current inquiries play out before discussing any future topics.

Critics of the new committee say it should be up to the courts to decide how laws are being followed and enforced.