Right to Work: Lawmakers Expect Legal Challenges

Despite days of protests and heated arugments in the legislature, Michigan is now the 24th Right to Work state in the country. Republicans say it's time to move on.

"It's back to business, the governor signed the bills, it's something that's a fact in Michigan," said Rep. Paul Opsommer, R-Dewitt.

While it's business as usual in the chambers, Democrats argue the debate over Right to Work is far from being over.

"I think this will be an issue that will be carried on whether that's in lawsuits in this next year or in the 2014 election, I do believe this is an issue they can't just hide from," said Sen. Gretchen Whitmer, D-Minority Leader.

Sen. Whitmer feels there's a good chance there could be court battles.

"They've carved out certain classes and treated them differently, I think that could make them subject to an equal protection claim," Sen. Whitmer said.

MSU labor expert Prof. Richard Block thinks the Right to Work bill covering public sector employees is the one vulnerable to legal challenge. He says the carve out for police and fire is likely to trigger more debate.

"The rational for exempting police and firefighters is not that clear. A judge can invalidate the entire public sector statute or a judge could simply invalidate that section that violates equal protection," said Prof. Block.

According to Prof. Block, it's still too early to tell what and if anything will be challenged, but Republican lawmakers say they won't be surprised if Right to Work goes to court.

"It's my bill, House Bill 4003, I'm very proud of it. I think we did it in a very accurate, legal way and I would expect those legal challenges to fall by the wayside," said Rep. Opsommer.

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