MIDLAND, Mich. — Bills introduced by Michigan House and Senate Democrats to repeal to the state’s 2012 right-to-work law for public sector employees are blatantly unconstitutional. The current language of Senate Bill 5 and House Bill 4004 would require public sector employees to pay agency fees, which directly violates workers’ First Amendment rights.
The United States Supreme Court’s 2018 Janus v. AFSCME decision declared that forcing public employees to pay agency fees to a union violated the First Amendment. Following the decision, all public employees across the country can now opt out of paying unions without losing their jobs.
“A state legislature cannot overturn a U.S. Supreme Court interpretation of First Amendment rights,” said Patrick Wright, vice president for legal affairs at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. “These bills show a grave lack of understanding of the U.S. Constitution and the rights of public employees. This attempt to put forth blatantly unconstitutional legislation is concerning.”
The Mackinac Center is also opposed to House Bill 4005, which would repeal right-to-work for private sector employees.
“Nobody should be fired for not wanting to pay a union,” said Jarrett Skorup, vice president for communications and marketing at the Mackinac Center. “Nearly 60,000 private sector workers in the state have left their unions since right-to-work passed in 2012. If right-to-work is repealed, tens of thousands of private sector workers would be forced to pay union dues just to keep their jobs.”
The Mackinac Center for Public Policy is a nonprofit research and educational institute that advances the principles of free markets and limited government. Through our research and education programs, we challenge government overreach and advocate for a free-market approach to public policy that frees people to realize their potential and dreams.
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