What Employers Need to Know about the Repeal of Michigan's Right to Work Laws

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer recently signed legislation into law that repeals Michigan’s right-to-work laws. The law new is called “Restoring Workers’ Rights” and it goes into effect on March 30, 2024.

Michigan’s right-to-work laws, which were enacted in 2012, allowed workers in unionized workplaces the right not to join a union or pay dues as a condition of employment, even if the union represented them in negotiations.

Supporters of right-to-work laws argue that the laws foster economic growth and job creation while allowing employees to opt out of supporting unions. Opponents of right-to-work laws argue that the laws create a free-rider problem and that the resulting financial impact on unions has reduced their ability to provide services.

At the time that the right-to-work laws were enacted in 2012, Michigan had one of the nation’s highest percentages of unionized workers. Over the past 10 years, Michigan’s unionized workforce slowly declined to an all-time low.

What does the repeal mean for workers at unionized workplaces?

The repeal of the right-to-work laws does not mean workers in unionized workplaces are required to join unions, but rather the repeal provides that workers who receive union benefits must now pay service fees.

How does the repeal affect employers?

With the repeal, some employers may be required to develop provisions for employment contracts. In addition, since some existing contracts could have union security clauses written into them that could take effect if state law changes, employers should carefully review their collective bargaining agreements with legal counsel.

Help is available

The attorneys at O’Reilly Rancilio are available to speak with business owners about changes in the law. To speak with an attorney, please call 586-726-1000 or visit our website.

Categories: Business