Another Knowing Lie

It appears almost yearly, and again today the Mackinac Center repeated a lie that it must by now know full well is a lie: that “…just 11 percent of total [MEA] spending goes toward “representational activities.” The rest, they say, is spent ” for the salaries and benefits of the union’s central staff.”  They used to use 29.5%, but today they are going with just 11%.

In the past, they’ve used this graphic:

Rep %

It suggests that only 29.5% of MEA spending is for ‘representation,’ meaning the rest is for non-bargaining efforts or wasted, and that this percentage is the lowest among all unions in the state.

It’s hard to reconstruct the Mackinac Center’s math, but if you instead look at how much fee payers pay the MEA, that is, the percentage they pay for MEA representation, it’s 79.37%, not the Center’s 29.5%. This payment is the result of a lawsuit brought by a right to work organization, so isn’t spin: it’s legally enforceable and monitored by MEA’s enemies.

The spending listed above for “overhead” (43.1%) reflects MEA’s policy of maintaining UNISERV offices all over the state, bringing the union to its members. None of the other unions listed does this.

The chart below (available in the back of the MEA calendar) shows a more reliable breakdown. Keep in mind that representation includes more than the first category: UNISERV directors give and receive training, nearly all of legal spending is related to UNISERV work, etc.


And just as important, this knowing falsehood, designed to foster complaints, is brought to you by the group that literally wrote the 80/20 Hardcap law and pushed for passage of the increases in your retirement contribution, costing you money every day. It is working at the Capitol, right now, to shut down the state pension system. The Mackinac Center is also responsible for a long list of laws that allow school districts to unilaterally make every layoff, recall, and evaluation decision, and ignore the now gutted Tenure Act.

2 thoughts on “Another Knowing Lie

  1. Our opponents say the same thing about public schools: Only blah blah percent is spent on teaching students… implying there is massive waste. We could go back to chalk and slates and inkwells too, then it would really be back to basics.

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