A Grand Rapids-area special education teacher has filed state charges against a local union and the school district for violating school employees’ rights under Michigan’s Right to Work law.

Becky Lapham is an 11-year Lincoln Developmental Center school teacher who notified the Michigan Education Association union that she was exercising her rights to refrain from full union dues payments and requested a financial disclosure of how her forced union dues and fees are being spent.

MEA union officials refused to comply with Lapham’s request, claiming that she would have to wait for a union-designated "window period" in August 2014 to refrain from full dues payments, and threatened to report her to a collections agency. Lapham says Michigan’s Right to Work law protects her right to refrain from union membership at any time. Analogously, federal labor law also protects workers’ absolute right to refrain from union membership at any time without penalty.

Lapham also filed additional charges against the union and Grand Rapids Public Schools for entering into an agreement illegally amending and extending the forced unionism provisions in the monopoly bargaining agreement beyond the date allowed under Michigan’s Right to Work law for public employees. That law specifies that contracts or amendments entered into after the law went into effect must respect workers’ right to refrain from the payment of any union dues or fees.