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A curious exemption in Michigan labor law

In explaining his support for a right-to-work law, Michigan Gov. Rick Synder told WWJ radio his intention was to give workers a choice, not to target unions. “This is about being pro-worker,” Snyder said.

OK, let’s accept that at face value. If this is all about choice and it’s pro-worker, how could Snyder and his allies in the Michigan Legislature deny these benefits to cops and firefighters?

The bill exempts police and firefighters, meaning they have no choice. They still are required to pay union dues. They must have done something awful to be punished like that, right?

– Jim Sweeney





12 Responses to “A curious exemption in Michigan labor law”

  1. Reality Check says:

    Claiming one’s rights under the Beck decision is practically impossible. Only an employee willing to undertake an arduous, and often expensive, legal fight, not to mention face the hostility of the union, will be successful. Ultimate appeal goes before the NLRB, which currently is as pro-union as it’s ever been. Good luck.

    It also helps to have a phone number and address known only to trusted family and friends.

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  2. Juvenal says:

    Okay Jim, at face value the Governor is a LSS. But now let’s talk about the facts. NOBODY is forced to join any union. This was established years ago by the US Supreme Court in two cases: Hudson affects the public sector, and Beck affects the private sector. The theory is that there is a 1st Amendment right of “free dis-association.” If an employee in a union represented workplace does not believe in the unions political/idealogocial stance, or declines to join for any other reason, then he or she may choose not to participate in the union or support those kinds of activities. However, the Court also laid out the principle that it IS reasonable for non-members to pay for the representational services they receive from the union if that is negotiated at teh bargaining table. These services are both in general–non-members benefit from the result of labor negotiations etc.;and individual–grievances, disciplinary actions, etc. which the union must take on. The point of Michigan’s so-called Right to Work law is that non-members now cannot be charged in any way shape or form for this union work. Its proper name is the “Right to Freeload Act.” BEWARE Michiganders: the same co-workers who refuse to share in the cost of non-political, representational activity will also eat your food from the fridge when no one is around.

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  3. Skippy says:

    “you’re saying it’s OK to coerce someone to join a union as long as the money gets funneled to Republicans?”

    Of course!
    What’s sauce for the goose…
    Plus it would be the first time in history, so for novelty’s sake alone it’s a great idea.

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  4. Reality Check says:

    Likely, the exemption was a simple political calculation about what was and wasn’t possible. Also, the restriction on the right of police and fire fighters to strike may have played a role.

    In any case, separate rules and benefits for public safety workers seems to be SOP for government. Is it fair? That’s only a legitimate question when talking about things like having contraceptives provided by one’s employer.

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  5. Jim Sweeney says:

    So Mike, you’re saying it’s OK to coerce someone to join a union as long as the money gets funneled to Republicans?

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  6. Reality Check says:

    Jim Sweeney a satirist? Who would have thought.

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  7. Nora Gonzales says:

    Michigan is destitute. Detroit looks like a bombed out city following World War II in Europe. The population is down by one half and still falling.

    Car manufacturers are moving south to right to work states living thousands unemployed.

    If you were a leader of this mess, you would be thinking of ways to attract new business and manufacturing to the state. That is exactly what the governor and the state legislature did.

    At least they are thinking of their state’s future, unlike the marxists who are running this state.

    The future is not a future with angry SEIU, teachers and other union members running in the streets screaming about union rights and obscenities. Michigan tried it for years and it failed just as it will fail in a bankrupted California.

    This state hasn’t reached bottom just yet, but it is very close and neither the social democrats or republicans are willing to save it.

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  8. sarkyfish says:

    Sweeny attempts to define the issue on his terms by dividing the question. However, the real issue is (one) workers being forced to join a union in order to have a job, and (two) having one’s union dues forwarded to the Democrat party to keep their own in power. It’s a shakedown scheme pure and simple, and the failure of an editorial writer to either define or ignore the overriding issue is (one) a clumsy oversight or (two) deliberately misleading.

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  9. Skippy says:

    The biggest Big Govt gravy train is always running full steam ahead for public safety unions.
    That said, did anyone see the thug violence from the union goons in Mich. this week?
    Ann Coulter is right about the Left and mobs. Without them, they are powerless.

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  10. MOCKINGBIRD says:

    No, Jim, they aren’t being punished-just the opposite. They are being bought by the Republican Party hoping those safety employees don’t change their stripes to Democrat. Many safety and police are Republican by tradition. Excluding their unions and catering to them (LIKE SAWYER AND OLIVARES DID HERE IN SANTA ROSA TO BUY THEIR SUPPORT AND VOTES) keeps them voting Republican. I hate to disabuse these unions and the trades unions, but when the government unions go so will ALL UNIONS EVENTUALLY because that’s been the Republicans’ goal since Reagan was President. There are billions of dollars being donated by Republican groups buying legislatures all over the country yet the people happily keep voting republican against their very own working existance.

    Despite what the Republican party put out about union employees not having a “choice” at least 99% of union members want to be union members and have their dues taken out of their paychecks, have interest base bargaining, and many of them voluntarily donate to the unions’ COPE committees for political action. Unions don’t MAKE their members vote for certain candidates or propositions they just make endorsements and that’s done by democratic principles-the COPE members make the endorsements. We choose who we want to vote for. This law effectively takes away any power the unions have to speak politically for their workers. It’s a hit directly into the Democratic party’s solar plexis and that’s the real intent, just like the voter disenfranchising laws being put on the books in Republican controlled states. Sure, there are a few union members in every union who hate being union. Too bad. If the union represents their interests they need to pay for that representation or work elsewhere.

    It’s quite obvious what the Republicans are up to. They can’t get elected so they need to cheat and buy their way to getting elected. They count on their voters to be too stupid to figure out that they aren’t on the voters’ side.

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  11. Dan Drummond says:

    I’m not familiar with the Michigan law and could easily be missing something, but your point seems to speak to the greater strength of the police and fire unions as contrasted to the non-public safety unions. The governor probably just didn’t have the votes to overcome powerful police and fire union opposition.

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  12. sarkyfish says:

    Sweeny attempts to define the issue on his terms by dividing the question. However, the real issue is (one) being forced to join a union in order to have a job, and (two) having one’s union dues forwarded to the Democrat party to keep their own in power. It’s a shakedown scheme pure and simple, and the failure of an editorial writer to either define or ignore the overriding issue is (one) irresponsible or (two) deliberate.

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