Worker’s Choice: Freedom for Employees and Unions

State and national media cover Mackinac Center concept

A bill moving its way through the Michigan Legislature would give workers the chance to say “no thanks” to union representation and unions the ability to say “goodbye” to nonmembers.

Rep. Gary Glenn, R-Midland, recently introduced a bill to allow Worker’s Choice in Michigan, which would be the first state to offer this freedom to unions and employees. Mackinac Center’s Director of Labor Policy F. Vincent Vernuccio, who originally developed the reform, explained how it would work in an op-ed published by the Washington Examiner:

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If passed, House Bill 5829 would finally give each worker in the state's public sector unions a genuine choice: Pay dues to the union and allow it to bargain for you, or go your own way, keep your money and bargain directly with your employer.

Unions and their allies have filed lawsuits in three of the four states that have recently approved right-to-work and in Idaho, arguing they often represent employees who choose not to pay dues. Worker’s Choice would solve the so-called “free-rider” issue, Vernuccio wrote in an op-ed published by Governing.

... This simple reform would ensure that union contracts don't cover employees who opt out of union membership, allowing individuals to represent themselves. This would instantly eliminate the issue of "free riders" while still protecting the worker freedom that comes with right-to-work laws; a recent poll by the Nevada Policy Research Institute found that 67 percent of union members support this policy.

In right-to-work states like Michigan, employees may choose to stop paying fees to a union, but they are still forced to accept the representation provided by the union, regardless of whether they want it. As explained by Fox 47 News, HB 5829 would extend Worker’s Choice to government unions; to give the freedom to private-sector workers, Congress would have to act.

Read the full op-ed in the Washington Examiner.

Read the full op-ed in Governing.

Watch the coverage at Fox 47 News.


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