Right to Work in Michigan
What does ‘right-to-work’ mean?
- The term refers to a law that would allow workers to choose if they want to join and pay union dues as a condition of employment. Currently in Michigan you may choose not to participate in union activity but dues are taken from your pay for the union in a closed shop.
- Michigan can become a “right to work state” Under Section 14(b) of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), a state may enact a law prohibiting union security clauses in union contracts. Section 14(b) provides, “Nothing in this Act shall be construed as authorizing the execution or application of agreements requiring membership in a labor organization as a condition of employment in any State or Territory in which such execution or application is prohibited by State or Territorial law.”
- The law would go into effect 90 days after the governor signs it. Most believe an “immediate effect.” Vote will not be taken.
- The new right-to-work law would not get rid of existing contracts. So if employees are in a closed shop (employees must support the union financially), those contracts will remain in effect until they expire.
- Some Michigan workers are working in closed shops and under contracts that expire in late 2015, those contract will remain in effect and employees cannot choose to leave the union and no longer pay dues until they expire.
- 23 other states have signed such measures into law
- Police and firefighters currently would be exempt from the new law as they fall under Public Act 312.
- 17.5% of the workers in Michigan are represented by unions.
- This right-to-work law is being written so it could not be struck down by a constitutional amendment. Appropriations attached to the legislation and when money is attached to a bill, voters cannot overturn it by rule of the State Constitution.