DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – A judge has rejected a challenge to a key portion of a Michigan law that allows workers to have a job without giving financial support to a union.
Detroit federal Judge Stephen Murphy III says so-called right-to-work laws “are a valid exercise” of state power. He ruled Monday in a lawsuit against the state of Michigan by the Michigan AFL-CIO.
Michigan became the nation’s 24th right-to-work state when the new law took effect in March, 2013.
Murphy upheld a part of the law that forbids making union support a condition for employment. He says it’s not trumped by federal law. At the same time, the judge refused to dismiss other parts of the union’s lawsuit.
Attorney General Bill Schuette calls Murphy’s decision a “great victory” for workers. AFL-CIO attorney Andrew Nickelhoff says the case isn’t over.
In short, right-to-work laws end requirements that workers pay union dues or fees as a condition of employment. Supporters insist it will boost the economy and job creation while opponents say right-to-work drains unions of money and weakens their ability to bargain for good wages and benefits.
Gov. Rick Snyder, who took a hit in popularity polls after he pushed for right-to-work, has said the law “isn’t about being anti-union,” but is “about being pro-worker.”
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