New state law frees workers from paying compulsory union dues as a condition of employment
Detroit, MI (April 16, 2013) – Four Michigan workers have moved to intervene in a Big Labor-backed federal lawsuit challenging Michigan's newly-enacted Right to Work law, which frees workers from paying union dues just to get or keep their jobs.
With free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, workers Terry Bowman and Brian Pannebecker, who work for Ford Motor Company in Ypsilanti and Sterling; Aaric Aaron Lewis, who works for AT&T in Kalamazoo; and Robert G. Harris, who works for Aunt Millie's Bakery in Jackson, filed the motion to intervene today in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. The four workers are forced to financially support a union in order to keep their jobs.
If granted, the workers' motion to intervene would make them full participants in the lawsuit.
In February, the Michigan State AFL-CIO union, the union-affiliated group Change to Win, and the AFL-CIO-affiliated Michigan State Building and Construction Trades Council union filed a federal lawsuit claiming that federal labor law preempts Michigan's Right to Work law.
However, federal labor law explicitly gives states the power to pass Right to Work laws. National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys have successfully defended state Right to Work laws from union-backed challenges numerous times, and the U.S. Supreme Court has long held that state Right to Work laws are constitutional.
Although Michigan's recently-enacted Right to Work law states that no employee can be required to pay union dues as a condition of employment, forced dues contracts between unions and employers entered into prior to the effective date of the law remain in force throughout the state.