Right-to-Work - Making Michigan home again

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Is Right-to-Work Right for Me?

Michigan’s right-to-work legislation will go into effect on March 28, 2013. The law applies to almost all Michigan workers in the private sector, as well as to Michigan public-sector workers apart from firemen and policemen.

Those workers who fall under the right-to-work law cannot be fired for refusing to financially support a union. Collective bargaining is otherwise unaffected.

The implementation of the new law may be confusing. To simplify the process and answer your questions, the Mackinac Center has created an easy-to-use questionnaire which will help you to understand your specific situation. It will tell you if and when you can exercise your rights.

  1. Are you represented by a union?


    Right-to-work only applies to workers who are represented by a labor organization. This can include members who pay dues and non-members who pay agency fees (this questionnaire does not address in detail the law relating to conscientious objectors). If you are not required to pay dues or agency fees or you wish to remain a union member who pays dues there is no need to exercise your rights under the right-to-work law.

  2. Do you want to exercise your rights under Michigan’s new right-to-work law?


    The Mackinac Center supports your choice to continue to financially support your union. Right-to-work is about giving workers the freedom to choose. Right-to-work does not affect collective bargaining in any other way except to take away a union’s ability to get a worker fired for not supporting them.

    Providing workers a choice will make your union more accountable to your brother and sister members and therefore stronger. If your union is representing you well you and your union co-workers will continue to support it.

  3. Are you working under an expired contract or one that takes effect or was extended or renewed after March 28, 2013?


    Unfortunately, right-to-work only applies to new contracts or those which were modified, renewed or extended after the law went into effect on March 28, 2013 or contracts that are expired. You may still continue to fill out the questionnaire to see how the new law will affect you after your current contract is changed or ends. To do so, please click "yes" above.

    Despite having to wait to exercise your full rights under right-to-work you may still resign your union membership and opt-out of the political portion of your dues. This is called exercising your Beck rights.

    Pre-RTW Opt-Out Letter

    Would you like to know more about exercising your Beck rights?


  4. Do you work in the public or private sector?


  1. Do you work for an airline or railroad or are you an agricultural or domestic worker?


    Unfortunately, if you work for an airline or railroad Michigan’s right-to-work law does not apply to you. While a union cannot force you to join, they may be able to force you to pay dues or agency fees.

    You may still resign your union membership and opt-out of the political portion of your dues. This is called exercising your Beck rights.

    Pre-RTW Opt-Out Letter

    Would you like to know more about exercising your Beck rights?


  2. Have you signed a separate union security agreement or given permission to your union to take money directly out of your paycheck, which is commonly called a "dues check off" authorization?


    You are allowed to resign from your union immediately; however, whether you have to continue paying dues until your authorization expires could be dependent on the language in your collective bargaining agreement and the dues check off authorization itself. The best practice is to send a resignation letter immediately, which you can fill out below, and then resend the letter during the window period that your union recognizes for voiding dues check off authorizations.

    RTW Opt-Out Letter

    You should be able to fully exercise your rights under the new right-to-work law immediately. It would be advisable to send a letter to both your union and your employer announcing your intentions.

    RTW Opt-Out Letter

  1. Do you work for the federal government?


    Because you are employed by the federal government, Michigan’s right-to-work law does not apply to you. However, your federal union cannot force you to pay union dues as a condition of employment. This means that you already have a version of right-to-work.

  2. Are you employed in a public safety office i.e. police officer, firefighter or state trooper?


    Michigan law still allows your union to require your payment of union dues or agency fees (most collective bargaining agreements allow termination of employment as a remedy for the union). However, you can still exercise your Abood rights (known as Beck rights for private sector workers), which is supposed to allow you to opt of that portion of your payment that would go to union political activity.

    Pre-RTW Opt-Out Letter

    Would you like to know more about exercising your Abood rights?


  3. Have you signed a separate union security agreement or given permission for your union to take money directly out of your paycheck?


    You are allowed to resign from your union immediately; however, whether you have to continue paying dues until your authorization expires could be dependent on the language in your collective bargaining agreement and the dues check off authorization itself. The best practice is to send a resignation letter immediately, which you can fill out below, and then resend the letter during the window period that your union recognizes for voiding dues check off authorizations and resignations. For most teachers, this second period is in August.

    RTW Opt-Out Letter

    You should be able to fully exercise your rights under the new right-to-work law immediately. It would be advisable to send a letter to both your union and your employer announcing your intentions.

    RTW Opt-Out Letter

Right-to-work laws prohibit unions from getting workers fired who do not financially support the union. Thus, under a right-to-work law, an employee only gives a union voluntary financial support. Generally, Beck rights concern those workers to whom right-to-work is not currently in effect. According to the Supreme Court, Beck prevents employees from having to pay funds unrelated "to collective bargaining, contract administration, or grievance adjustment." You can learn more about Beck Rights here.

Right-to-work laws prohibit unions from getting workers fired who do not financially support the union. Thus, under a right-to-work law, an employee only gives a union voluntary financial support. Generally, Abood rights concern those workers to whom right-to-work is not currently in effect. According to the Supreme Court, Abood prevents employees from having to pay funds unrelated "to collective bargaining, contract administration, or grievance adjustment." You can learn more about Abood Rights here.


Due to your answers, you may be able to exercise your right-to-work rights. Please fill in the following questions and we will automatically generate a resignation letter for you.

You may have to notify both your local union and the international. Make sure your resignation is in writing. It is best to send it by certified mail. You may resign from your union at any time; however, you may still have to pay union dues or agency fees if there is a collective bargaining agreement or dues check off authorization agreement in place when the new right-to-work law goes into effect on March 28, 2013.

RTW Opt-Out Letter

At the end of the questionnaire you will have the opportunity to fill out and print a form informing your union you wish to exercise your rights. You may jump directly to the form here:

RTW Opt-Out Letter

Pre-RTW Opt-Out Letter

For general questions on right-to-work, please see Mackinac’s right-to-work page.

For general frequently asked questions about how right-to-work affects workers, head to the private-sector or public-sector FAQ.

If you still have questions after you have completed the questionnaire, please contact the Mackinac Center at 989-631-0900 or mcpp@mackinac.org.

The material on this website, including any forms, letters, or statements, is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.
Please consult an attorney about your specific situation.