Retaining Teachers in the Teaching Union in one Urban District in Michigan, a Right-to-Work State
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The purpose of this study was to identify the transformational leadership traits suited for retaining members in the local union in this urban district in Michigan, a Right-to-Work state. Policy like Janus v. AFSCME has impacted members' views of educational union leaders and thereby the membership retention number. Before Right-to-Work and Janus v. AFSCME, teachers had to be in the union, so there was no retention problem unless the district had a retention problem. Resulting from this membership loss is the loss of collective bargaining rights and powers, which affects the classroom environment, lives of students, and the lives of teachers. The finding in this study suggested transformational leadership traits can contribute to retaining members despite outside factors like public policy. This study was a qualitative single case study of one local teaching union in an urban district in Michigan. The purposive sample was selected from the Local Association. Five local leaders were interviewed, and 11 members of the organization were interviewed using open-ended questions created from the MLQ 5x short transformational leadership questionnaire. Interview responses were coded into specific themes using the research questions as a framework for coding. By identifying the leadership traits that best address this issue of retention, a framework was created for teaching unions in similar situations and circumstances. This framework and these recommendations can help teaching unions struggling with retaining members work to retain those members. Not every teaching union in the United States is subjected to the same circumstances as the Local Association in this study, therefore other types of locals in different states should also be studied to gain further insight into successful leadership traits in teaching unions.