Right to Work: Lawmakers Expect Legal Challenges

By: Fay Li Email
By: Fay Li Email

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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  • by Pete on Dec 13, 2012 at 05:12 AM
    Next the president? You compare what the Republican Party has done to this state to Obama? Greed can be a horrible thing.
  • by Anonymous on Dec 13, 2012 at 04:31 AM
    I guess that is becoming normal now. New law is passed. Courts become involved before it goes into effect. Next thing that will be happening is that president declares that the consitution is unconstitutional and he wants to have total control over everything and set himself to be dictator for life.
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