MIDLAND, Mich. — Gov. Whitmer signed legislation today repealing right-to-work protections in Michigan. This will once again require private sector workers in unionized workplaces to choose between paying a union or losing their jobs. Since right-to-work passed in 2012, nearly 140,000 people across the state have chosen to leave their union.
Joseph G. Lehman, president of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, commented on the repeal of worker protections:
Gov. Whitmer and Democratic lawmakers have just committed a massive, unforced error that weakens Michigan’s ability to compete globally and signals to the world that there are better places than Michigan to live, work, invest, and create jobs. Compelling support for organized labor directly and immediately harms tens of thousands who will now be fired if they choose not to support a union. Union coercion is a backward business model doomed to failure.
This legislation reinstates harmful laws that force workers to pay a union to keep a job. Some of these unions are plainly corrupt. Two former United Auto Workers presidents have been convicted of embezzlement and other crimes, while other UAW leaders are still facing charges. The Biden administration’s Department of Justice recently found the Michigan Education Association acted “fraudulently” in pursuit of COVID relief funds.
Some of our state elected officials have made it resoundingly clear that they are willing to sacrifice many to serve a few. That may be politics, but it is not leadership. The Mackinac Center is committed to a freer and more prosperous Michigan, helping all people for the long term rather than benefiting just a few in the short.
While the legislation signed today included repealing right-to-work for both private and public sector workers, the First Amendment rights of public sector workers are protected by the United States Supreme Court’s 2018 Janus v. AFSCME decision. Because of the decision, public employees such as teachers, police officers and local government workers will still be able to keep their jobs without having to pay a union.
Learn more about the Mackinac Center’s work on right-to-work here
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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