Mea v. Christian Bros. Institute, Docket No. 256256.

CourtSupreme Court of Michigan
Writing for the CourtPer Curiam
Citation267 Mich. App. 660,706 N.W.2d 423
Decision Date16 August 2005
Docket NumberDocket No. 256256.
PartiesMICHIGAN EDUCATION ASSOCIATION, Petitioner-Appellee, v. CHRISTIAN BROTHERS INSTITUTE OF MICHIGAN, d/b/a Brother Rice High School, Respondent-Appellant.

Page 423

706 N.W.2d 423
267 Mich. App. 660
MICHIGAN EDUCATION ASSOCIATION, Petitioner-Appellee,
v.
CHRISTIAN BROTHERS INSTITUTE OF MICHIGAN, d/b/a Brother Rice High School, Respondent-Appellant.
Docket No. 256256.
Court of Appeals of Michigan.
Submitted January 11, 2005, at Detroit.
Decided August 16, 2005, at 9:00 a.m.
Released for Publication November 10, 2005.

White, Schneider, Young & Chiodini, P.C. (by William F. Young and Timothy J. Dlugos), Okemos, for the petitioner.

Clark Hill, P.L.C. (by William A. Moore), Detroit, for the respondent.

La Rae G. Munk, Midland, for Action Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty, amicus curiae.

Jay Alan Sekulow and Walter M. Weber, Washington, DC, and Steven M. Jentzen, P.C. (by Steven M. Jentzen), Ypsilanti, for The American Center for Law and Justice, amicus curiae.

Berry Moorman, P.C. (by Robert W. Morgan), Detroit, for the University of Detroit Jesuit High School and Academy, amici curiae.

Bernardi, Ronayne & Glusac, P.C. (by John J. Ronayne, III), Detroit, for the Catholic Central High School of Detroit, amicus curiae.

Mark H. Cousens, Southfield, for the Michigan Federation of Teachers and School Related Personnel, AFT, AFL-CIO, amici curiae.

Bodman, L.L.P. (by Thomas Van Dusen, Karen L. Piper, and Jane Derse Quasarano), Detroit, for the Archdiocese of Detroit, amicus curiae.

Page 424

Before: SCHUETTE, P.J., and SAWYER and O'CONNELL, JJ.

PER CURIAM.


Respondent appeals as of right a decision and direction of election issued on May 26, 2004, by the Michigan Employment Relations Commission (MERC) granting petitioner the right to hold an election among respondent's teaching staff to determine whether petitioner would serve as their collective bargaining representative. MERC's orders are vacated and all the claims in the petition are dismissed.

I. FACTS

Respondent is a Roman Catholic high school for boys, "sponsored by the Congregation of Christian brothers." While respondent is ultimately owned by the Catholic Church under canon law, the Archdiocese of Detroit does not provide financial support to the school. Respondent and its faculty follow the teachings of Brother Edmund Rice with the primary goals and focus of a Christian Brothers education having been distilled in the essential elements of a Christian Brothers education. Faculty members of respondent are expected to initiate and end class with a prayer and integrate into the curriculum the teachings of Brother Edmund Rice and "good Christian attitudes." A daily religion class is part of the curriculum, and all students are required to attend, along with periodic school-wide liturgies. While not all students attending respondent are Catholic, they are expected to attend, if not participate in, ongoing religious instruction. Respondent's faculty is primarily comprised of lay teachers, not all of whom are Catholic or Christian. Faculty members are to promote and identify "opportunities to encourage faith-building." Members of the Congregation of Christian Brothers are lay individuals and not ordained as priests, but the Congregation is deemed a "religious organization." The members are described as living "a consecrated life," taking "vows of poverty, chastity and obedience."

Before the initiation of this lawsuit, respondent's lay faculty participated in an informal association for contract and labor negotiations. Petitioner filed a petition for election, seeking permission to have petitioner certified as the lay faculty's exclusive bargaining representative. On July 22, 2003, an administrative hearing was conducted before a hearing referee in order to "prepare a full factual record." Following stipulation by the parties that the proposed bargaining unit was comprised of all full-time and part-time teachers, excluding administrative staff, respondent objected that using Michigan's labor mediation act (LMA), M.C.L. § 423.1 et seq., to regulate labor relations for a religious organization is restricted by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution and art. 1, § 4, of the Michigan...

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2 practice notes
  • Macomb Cnty. v. AFSCME Council 25 Locals 411 & 893, Docket No. 296416.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Michigan (US)
    • September 20, 2011
    ...it is substantial and material are legal questions subject to review de novo. Mich. Ed. Ass'n v. Christian Bros. Institute of Mich., 267 Mich.App. 660, 663, 706 N.W.2d 423 (2005). Also subject to review de novo are issues of statutory interpretation, Kent Co. Deputy Sheriff's Ass'n v. Kent ......
  • Ingham Co. v. Capitol City Lodge Fop, Docket No. 263956.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Michigan (US)
    • April 3, 2007
    ...disciplinary scheme. 4. Const. 1963, art. 6, § 28. 5. MCL 24.306(1)(f). 6. Michigan Ed. Ass'n v. Christian Bros. Institute of Michigan, 267 Mich.App. 660, 663, 706 N.W.2d 423 7. MCL 423.209. 8. MCL 423.210(1)(a) and (c). 9. See also Jeannette Corp. v. Nat'l Labor Relations Bd., 532 F.2d 916......
2 cases
  • Macomb Cnty. v. AFSCME Council 25 Locals 411 & 893, Docket No. 296416.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Michigan (US)
    • September 20, 2011
    ...it is substantial and material are legal questions subject to review de novo. Mich. Ed. Ass'n v. Christian Bros. Institute of Mich., 267 Mich.App. 660, 663, 706 N.W.2d 423 (2005). Also subject to review de novo are issues of statutory interpretation, Kent Co. Deputy Sheriff's Ass'n v. Kent ......
  • Ingham Co. v. Capitol City Lodge Fop, Docket No. 263956.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Michigan (US)
    • April 3, 2007
    ...disciplinary scheme. 4. Const. 1963, art. 6, § 28. 5. MCL 24.306(1)(f). 6. Michigan Ed. Ass'n v. Christian Bros. Institute of Michigan, 267 Mich.App. 660, 663, 706 N.W.2d 423 7. MCL 423.209. 8. MCL 423.210(1)(a) and (c). 9. See also Jeannette Corp. v. Nat'l Labor Relations Bd., 532 F.2d 916......

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