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Michigan Unions Brace For Teacher Opt-Out Decision

Organized labor and pro-business groups are waging an intense lobbying campaign directed at schoolteachers who are deciding this month whether to remain in their union, in the first real test of the state’s new right-to-work law.

Many of the 112,000 active educators and school workers in the Michigan Education Association can now leave the union and stop paying fees under the law that took effect last year. Other major unions, covered by multi-year contracts, won’t reach the opt-out point until 2015 or later.

With the teachers given a 31-day window in August to decide, representatives for the state’s largest public-sector union are imploring them to stay or risk losing their clout in how schools are operated.