[Photo of Robert P. Hunter]

Robert P. Hunter

Senior Fellow in Labor Policy

Robert P. Hunter served as the regional director of the Federal Labor Relations Authority in Washington, D.C., and is the senior fellow in labor policy for the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Hunter was director of labor policy for the Mackinac Center from 1996 to 2003.

For the Mackinac Center, Hunter researches critical employment issues and educates key Michigan audiences including elected officials, policymakers, labor and business executives, and opinion leaders.

President Ronald Reagan appointed Hunter to the National Labor Relations Board in 1981, where he adjudicated more than 3000 labor law cases. He served as Chief Counsel to the U. S. Senate Committee on Labor and Human Resources in 1981. He also served as the chief legislative staffer for U. S. Senators Robert Taft Jr. and Orrin Hatch.

In December 1996, Hunter was appointed by Governor John Engler to the Michigan Civil Service Commission, which has plenary constitutional authority to create and operate the state employment system.

Hunter has authored numerous articles for prestigious publications such as Michigan's Wayne Law Review, and has prepared and delivered over 200 speeches and lectures to national audiences on vital labor issues.

Hunter is a former faculty member of the Johns Hopkins University Graduate Business School and has served as labor policy advisor to the U. S. Chamber of Commerce, the Society for Human Resource Management, and other organizations.

Throughout a decade of private practice with a major international law firm, Hunter has helped hundreds of clients implement positive alternative strategies to resolve labor issues.

Hunter is admitted to practice before the U. S. Supreme Court and belongs to several state bar associations. He received his law degree from Vanderbilt University Law School and he holds a master of laws degree in labor law from the New York University School of Law.

The Michigan Union Accountability Act:

Unions in Michigan represent over 900,000 workers and take in more than $250 million in membership dues annually. But in spite of their expansive wealth and political power, requirements that unions disclose their financial dealings are minimal. Reform of the federal reporting system, which governs private-sector unions, is needed but unlikely in the current political climate. Michigan can take the lead by passing its own Union Accountability Act, requiring annual financial disclosure reports and independent audits of public-sector union affiliates active in the Great Lakes State. … more

Religious Liberty and Compulsory Unionism: A Worker's Guide to Using Union Dues for Charity

Many employees in unionized workplaces do not know that if they harbor religious objections to joining, financing, or otherwise associating with labor unions, they have legal recourse if their union or employer or both violate those rights. This report explains the statutes and developing case law that protect religious employees' freedom of conscience in the workplace by allowing them to refrain from union membership and divert their compulsory dues to a charity of their choice. … more

Michigan Labor Law: What Every Citizen Should Know

Michigan is one of the most unionized states in the country, with a long and sometimes troubled labor history that powerfully affects every citizen in the state from blue-collar factory workers to suburban soccer moms. Yet few understand how modern labor unions and state and federal labor laws operate. This study clearly and concisely explains the history of organized labor in America, how government unions affect the democratic process, how compulsory unionism interferes with workers' rights of free speech and association, and much more. Several recommendations for reform point the way toward restoring a more balanced, government-neutral approach to Michigan labor relations. … more

Paycheck Protection in Michigan

The U. S. Supreme Court's 1988 landmark decision Communication Workers v. Beck established the rights of employees working under union contracts to pay only those union dues or fees necessary to cover the costs of a union's employee representation duties. However, the majority of Michigan's nearly one million union workers are unaware of their rights under the Beck decision for the simple reason that their unions neglect to inform them. This report shows how "paycheck protection" legislation would help safeguard worker Beck rights by requiring unions to obtain up-front, written approval from individual workers each year before they could spend the dues money on political or other non-workplace-related activities. The report recommends that Michigan policy makers adopt a paycheck protection proposal to help union workers enjoy their freedoms of speech and association as they refrain from involuntarily contributing money to union causes with which they disagree. … more

Compulsory Union Dues in Michigan

Nearly one million Michigan workers are forced to financially support a union in order to keep their jobs. Although federal law permits unions and employers to force workers to pay for union representation in the workplace, the law does not extend to forcing workers to pay unions for representation in the political arena. Over three-fourths of union workers are not aware that they do not have to fund their unions' political, social, and ideological agendas. This report documents the developing law surrounding compulsory union dues in Michigan, shows workers how to exercise their rights to a dues refund, presents positive union strategies for making workers aware of their rights, and calls for executive action by the governor. 28 pp. … more