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Right to Work FAQ
Feb 23, 2023
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The laws went into effect March 27, 2013, but would not apply to individual employers and their bargaining units until a collective bargaining agreement expires, or is renewed, extended or revised by the parties on or after March 27, 2013.  If a contract is renewed or extended prior to March 27, 2013, the law will not apply until expiration of the new agreement.  The law does not apply to 312 eligible units.

Generally speaking, unions must provide the same benefits to workers regardless of whether they are dues-paying union members. In other words, an employee in a unionized workplace can’t be offered a different wage or be subject to different working conditions based on whether he or she pays dues.

No. Non-dues-paying employees may not take part in the ratification portion of the collective bargaining process, nor may they vote-upon or assume leadership positions within a union.  The laws do not force the union to give membership rights or eligibility for members-only benefits, to nonpayers.  Union meetings are not open to the public and non-dues-paying employees.

The Michigan Employment Relations Commission has steadfastly refused to interject itself in judgment over agreements made by employers and unions, despite frequent challenges by disgruntled employees.  The fact that an individual member is dissatisfied with the union’s efforts or ultimate decision is insufficient to constitute a breach of the duty of fair representation.  A union has the legal discretion to make judgments about the general good of the employees it represents and to proceed on such judgments, despite the fact they may conflict with the desires or interests of certain employees.

No. If a union is recognized as the exclusive bargaining representative of a group of employees, regardless of whether or not they financially support it, then the union owes each of those employees a “duty of fair representation” under the PERA.   Non-dues paying employees can’t negotiate their own wages and benefits.

Yes.  All employees, whether paying dues or not, are covered by the collective bargaining agreement.  In general, any alleged violation of the agreement is grounds for a grievance.  The Union has the right to file a grievance over the interpretation and application of the collective bargaining agreement for all employees covered by that agreement. Because the union’s ultimate duty is toward the membership as a whole, a union may consider such factors as the burden on the contractual machinery, the cost, the likelihood of success in arbitration and other relevant considerations when deciding whether to advance a grievance to arbitration.  To this end, a union is not required to follow the dictates of the individual grievant, but rather, it may investigate and present, or not present, the case in the manner the union determines to be the best.  The union’s actions will be held lawful as long as they are not so far outside a wide range of reasonableness as to be irrational.

The RTW law will require you to modify the language in the Agency Shop or Union Dues section of your contract. Any language making it “a condition of employment” for an employee to pay money to a union will need to be removed from the contract.

Yes. However, the amendments prohibit anyone from using force, intimidation or unlawful threats to compel or attempt to compel an employee to become or remain a member of a union, or to pay union dues, fees, assessments or other charges or expenses or provide anything of value to a union, or to make a charitable contribution in lieu of the above.

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