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Right to Work

A right-to-work law says that joining or paying fees to a labor union is not a requirement of lawful employment. It means your employer cannot force you to join a union or pay union dues or fees. Twenty-two states have right-to-work laws. Michigan does not.

The Mackinac Center, a conservative think tank based in Midland, thoroughly covers the subject of right-to-work in a "policy brief" on its website: A Model Right-to-Work Amendment to the Michigan Constitution.

Why Right-to-Work?

We have two reasons why we want to make Michigan a right-to-work state:

  1. We like freedom, so we don't like to see workers forced to join a union or forced to pay union dues as a condition of employment. It should be their choice. It does not harm the employer. It just means less income for the union.

  2. We do not believe unions are good for Michigan's economy, so any reduction in the amount of income they have to support strikes, buy politicians and spread union propaganda is a good thing.

Petition Language

The Mackinac Center brief says that although right-to-work could be enacted as a statute, it might be more effective as a constitutional amendment. One reason is the permanence of an amendment and as such, "the message the provision sends to businesses about the state’s business climate." The other is that  "It involves a basic employment right . . ." Here is our proposed amendment. The text is exactly as suggested by the Mackinac Center:

§ 28 Right to work.

      Sec. 28. (1) As used in this section, "labor organization" means any agency, union, employee representation committee, or organization of any kind that exists for the purpose, in whole or in part, of dealing with employers concerning wages, rates of pay, hours of work, other conditions of employment, or other forms of compensation.

      (2) No person shall be required as a condition of obtaining or continuing public-sector or private-sector employment to:

      (a) Resign or refrain from membership in, voluntary affiliation with, or voluntary financial support of, a labor organization.

      (b) Become or remain a member of a labor organization.

      (c) Pay any dues, fees, assessments, or other charges of any kind or amount, or provide anything else of value, to a labor organization.

      (d) Pay to any charity or other third party an amount equivalent to, or a portion of, dues, fees, assessments, or other charges required of members of a labor organization.

     (3) An agreement, contract, understanding, or practice between a labor organization and an employer that violates this section is unlawful and unenforceable. This section will apply only to those agreements, contracts, understandings or practices that take force or are extended or renewed after this section takes effect.

     (4) Any person who suffers an injury or a threatened injury under this section may bring a civil action for damages, injunctive relief, or both. In addition, the court shall award a prevailing plaintiff costs and reasonable attorney fees.

     (5) This section shall be self-executing. If any part or parts of this section are found to be in conflict with the United States Constitution or federal law, the section shall be implemented to the maximum extent that the United States Constitution and federal law permit. Any provision held invalid or inoperative shall be severable from the remaining portions of this section.

A draft the petition form has been prepared - front and back.

The effective date of a constitutional amendment is 45 days after the date of the election at which it was approved (Article XII, Section 2 of the Michigan Constitution).