Updated March 16, 2023
The state Senate this week gave final approval to House Bill 4004, which on paper repeals Michigan’s so-called “right to work” law for public employees — but it won’t actually take effect unless a 2018 U.S. Supreme Court ruling is eventually overturned.
In 2018, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in the Janus v. AFSCME case that government employees who are represented by a union but do not belong to that union cannot be required to pay a fee to cover the union’s costs to negotiate a contract that applies to all employees. As a result, right to work became the law of the land for all public employees in the nation.
The Janus ruling overturned a 1977 ruling that allowed public-sector unions to charge those “agency” or “fair share” fees to non-members.
HB 4004 includes language that ensures the law will take effect in Michigan if and when the Supreme Court overturns the Janus decision. The Legislature is also in the process of repealing right-to-work for private sector workers — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has indicated she will sign both laws.