DETROIT (WWJ) – Michigan’s right-to-work law is set to go into effect in late March and labor unions are heading to federal court in an attempt to block the law.
Andrew Nickelhoff is an attorney with the AFL-CIO.
“Our position is that the right-to-work law is so riddled with unconstitutional provisions that they can’t be separated from the rest of the law and therefore, the entire law should be declared unconstitutional – which would mean that it would not be enforceable,” said Nickelhoff.
“The basis for the case is that in its haste to enact right-to-work, the legislature over-reached invaded an area of law that is controlled exclusively by Federal law,” he said.
Nickelhoff said, “it adds civil fines, criminal penalties for violations and those consequences and penalties are not provided for under federal labor law.”
A similar suit has been filed at the state level. The lawsuits are challenging a part of the right-to-work law that prohibits requiring workers to pay union dues or fees as a condition of employment.
Unions say the law can’t apply to private-sector employees because it overreaches into any area controlled by the National Labor Relations Act.
In December, the GOP-dominated state House of Representatives voted 58-51, passing a right-to-work law covering public employees and 58-52 on a bill for private sector workers.
In general, right-to-work laws prohibit requiring unions from collecting fees from non-union employees, which opponents say drains unions of money and weakens their ability to bargain for good wages and benefits. Supporters insist it will boost the economy and job creation. Police and firefighters are exempt in the legislation. (Right to Work: Just the Facts).