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Michigan Repeals Right-to-Work Law

19 Apr

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Update Applicable to:|
All employers in the state of Michigan.

What happened?
In our previous communication here, we notified you that the Michigan House of Representatives passed two bills, House Bill 4004 (HB  4004) and House Bill 4005 (HB 4005), which would repeal Michigan’s current right-to-work law if approved by the state senate and signed into law by the governor. This is an update for that communication.

What are the details?
On March 24, 2023, Michigan became the first state in 58 years to repeal its right-to-work statute when Governor Whitmer signed HB 4004, 4005, and Senate Bill 34 (SB 34). The repeal will take effect on March 30, 2024, and significantly impact employees, employers, and labor unions.

House Bill 4004 and 4005
HB 4004 relates specifically to the right to work in the public sector; HB 4005 relates to the right to work in the private sector. Both bills remove the prohibition under Michigan’s current right-to-work law that makes it illegal to require an employee to pay dues or agency fees to a union as a condition of obtaining or continuing employment.

This means that union security clauses in collective bargaining agreements, which allow a union to compel an employer to discharge an employee for refusing to pay dues or agency fees (i.e., fees that are required to be paid by employees who object to paying for union activities unrelated to collective bargaining and grievance administration, such as organizing the employees of other employers, lobbying for political legislation, and participating in social, charitable, and political events), would become legal again for the first time in Michigan since the state enacted its right-to-work law in 2012.

Senate Bill 34
SB 34 eliminates Michigan’s right-to-work legislation. Under SB 34, employees in unionized workplaces will no longer have a statutory right to opt out of union membership or refrain from paying union dues or fees as a condition of employment. SB 34, therefore, legalizes union security clauses in collective bargaining agreements that force employees to pay dues, fees, assessments, or expenses that support labor unions and permit unions to force employers to discharge employees who refuse to do so through the application of union security clauses.

SB 34 also removes the financial penalty for using force, intimidation, or threats to compel employees to join or not join a union, affiliate with or financially support a union, and/or pay a charitable organization or another third party an amount of money equivalent to dues, fees, or other charges that are required to be represented by a labor union.

For more information, please see the links below:

House Bill 4004 (HB  4004)

House Bill 4005 (HB 4005)

Senate Bill 34 (SB 34)

Previous Vensure Communication (March 21, 2023)

Article  

What do employers need to do?
Employers should review the links provided above and be prepared to address union attempts to revive or establish union security provisions, including identifying the scope and limits of the employer’s bargaining obligations.

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This communication is intended solely for the purpose of conveying information. The present post might incorporate hyperlinks directing readers to websites managed by third-party entities. The inclusion of any links within this communication is meant to serve as points of reference and could encompass opinion articles from various law firms, articles from HR associations, official websites, news releases, and documents of government agencies, and other relevant third-party sources. Vensure has no authority over these external websites and bears no responsibility for their content. Furthermore, Vensure does not endorse the materials present on these websites. The contents of this communication should not be interpreted as legal advice or as a legal standpoint concerning specific facts or scenarios. Nor should it be deemed an exhaustive compilation of facts potentially pertinent to federal, state, or local laws. It is strongly advised that employers solicit legal guidance from an employment attorney when undertaking actions in response to any legal updates provided. This is due to the possibility of future alterations occurring in federal, state, and local laws, regulations, as well as the directives and guidelines issued by governing agencies. These changes may transpire at any given time, potentially rendering certain portions of the content within this update void or inaccurate.

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