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How will Michigan’s Right to Work laws affect the workplace?

Article legal concept

Michigan’s new Right to Work legislation, consisting of two bills, was signed into law by Gov. Rick Snyder on Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2012, but will not take effect until late March or early April of 2013.

Michigan is the 24th state to enact such legislation.

Both new laws make it illegal for employees to be required to join or financially support a Union, even if there is a union currently representing employees in a workplace.  However, contracts or collective bargaining agreements already in effect will not be affected by the new laws until the contracts expire.

Contrary to what the name implies, neither law creates the right to a job for any employee, but rather makes it illegal for a union shop clause (forcing employees to pay union dues) to be a part of a bargaining contract.

Proponents of right-to-work laws argue that workers should be free to join unions or to refrain from doing so.  Opponents argue that right-to-work laws restrict freedom of association, and limit the sorts of agreements individuals acting collectively can make with their employer.

Not surprisingly, this decision has created a political divide and Democratic leaders have promised to attempt to block the Right to Work legislation by litigation and political activity including recall efforts against legislators who supported the laws.

We’ll continue to monitor the situation and keep you apprised.

If you need advice about these issues surrounding collective bargaining or other human resources matters in your business, contact the experts at BCN Services.



Sue Kester, Manager, HR