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Right to Work vs Unions in Michigan

We suspected the unions in Michigan would continue to fight back against recently passed right to work legislation, and we were correct.  Unions, displeased that it passed, are showing their displeasure through various legal maneuvers that resemble litigious temper tantrums.  

On one front, we have state employees. The coalition of state employee unions sued back in February, arguing that applying right to work legislation to state employees was unconstitutional. This was because, they argued, their work was covered under the Civil Service Commission. The court, thankfully, didn’t buy that.

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette was also in favor of the court’s decision. “Today, the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled the freedom to work law constitutional — a great opportunity for the hardworking women and men of Michigan,” Schuette said. “As the law is written, public-sector employees will receive the same freedoms and choices as private-sector employees. Everyone will be treated equally.” Never one to go quietly, the UAW has told their members that they will be appealing to a higher court. They remind me of a child who, having been told “no” by their mother, simply turns around and asks Dad.

The Teamsters are also having a tough time. Teamsters Local 214 is being sued on behalf of members who say the group is disobeying right to work legislation. These 4 employees of the City of Dearborn are not members of the union, but are members of the bargaining unit. However, as nonunion employees, they are being charged $150 to file a grievance.

For a group that claims to be about protecting employees, this certainly seems like strange behavior. “Our clients have no confidence that, even if they paid the fee, the union would handle any potential grievances they file in good faith,” Attorney Derk Wilcox said. “What the union did here was a spiteful reaction to workers lawfully exercising their independence.”

That independence is just what the unions are afraid of. What we’re watching is their struggle to remain relevant, even if that has to be by force.