HOW ABOUT MY ‘RIGHT TO WORK’ ( OR NOT)

I’m pretty sure you have heard about this one.  Can’t open a paper without reading one side or the other.  Fortunately we have an expert.

Rob Dubault, a partner in our Muskegon office wrote and sent out to our clients an e-alert.  There is one update, of course. After  Rob wrote this yesterday afternoon, the Governor signed the bill.

Here you go, and thanks, Rob:

Michigan Becoming ‘Right to Work’ State

Michigan, the state recognized as the birthplace of the modern labor movement in America, will soon become the 24th Right-to-Work state. This afternoon, the Republican-controlled state legislature passed Right-to-Work legislation, which will allow workers in a collective bargaining unit the choice of opting in or out of union membership.

Under the legislation, which applies to public- and private-sector unions (with the exception of police and firefighter unions), an employee can no longer be required to join a union and pay dues as a condition of employment. Existing contracts that require employees to join or pay dues to a union are exempted until they are re-negotiated or extended. Senate Bill 116 and House Bill 4003, labeled “Freedom to Work” by supporters, are now on their way to Republican Governor Rick Snyder’s desk. The Governor has said he plans to sign the legislation. Passage occurred as organized labor conducted one of the largest protests ever seen in the Capitol City.

The Governor and legislative leadership agreed to exempt police and firefighter unions over concern about Public Act 312 of 1969, which calls for binding arbitration to prevent a strike. In addition, the Governor and legislative leaders were concerned about the potential for dissention within the ranks of those who risk their lives for public safety. Critics of the legislation and of the carve out for police and firefighters say Public Act 312 has nothing to do with joining a union or paying dues and that there are other union members in different occupations who also risk their lives for public safety but are not exempted.

If you have questions about this legislation or another labor-related legal development, please contact Rob Dubault (rdubault@wnj.com or 231.727.2638) or any other member of the Labor Law Group at Warner Norcross & Judd.