Michigan judge says school employees can exit union at any time under right-to-work law

A labor judge has ruled that Michigan's largest teachers' union should let members drop out at any time.

Administrative law judge Julia Stern recommended Tuesday that the Republican-controlled Employment Relations Commission order the Michigan Education Association to stop enforcing its August opt-out window. She says Michigan's right-to-work law that took effect last year incorporated a federal law and gave public employees the ability to leave their union anytime.

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The decision directly affects seven employees in four school districts who complained that they were unable to drop out of the 112,000-member teachers' union after missing a little-known window in 2013. The decisions could have broader implications for other unions.

Conservative groups are claiming victory. Unions are likely to appeal, and the dispute may reach the state Supreme Court.