Impact of MI Right to Work Bills

By: Fay Li Email
By: Fay Li Email

Three bills addressing "Right to Work" are going through the Michigan legislature fast. Sponsors of the bills say there's no hidden agenda.

"You don't have to join the union if it's a union shop for a company, you have an option. All we're doing is giving the employee a choice," said Rep. Paul Opsommer, R-Dewitt.

Labor experts agree it's straightforward, but what that means in the long run is a different story. According to MSU Labor Relations Professor John Beck, employees working for a union shop won't be required to pay dues, but would receive the same pay and benefits. However, he says non-union members won't have a say in what the union actually negotiates on their behalf.

According to Prof. Beck, the choice may become a burden for the unions in the long run and ultimately affect benefits of employees

"You can only provide for members and non-members in a workplace if it maintains a certain level of strength both in its power to claim it has majority support, it has solidarity of its members and on the other side that it has the financial resources that come from dues," said Prof. Beck.

Rep. Opsommer maintains that collective bargaining is protected and workers will get more with choice.

"Unions are now in a position to become much more responsive to the needs of all of the members of the union," said Rep. Opsommer.

UAW Local 652 President Mike Green refuses to believe Right to Work isn't about collective bargaining and calls it "union busting." He says they will be back at the Capitol on Tuesday, which is when the legislature is expected to take up the bills again.


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