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Michigan governor asks high court to rule on right-to-work

Passed in late 2012, the law makes it illegal to require employees to pay union fees

The governor of Michigan is asking the state’s high court to rule on the controversial “right-to-work” law passed in the state at the end of 2012.

On Monday, Republican Governor Rick Snyder asked Michigan’s Superior Court to decide on the constitutionality of the new law that says union dues payments are voluntary. The new law, which was passed by the state’s Republican-dominated House of Representatives, will make it harder for unions to organize in Michigan, which is known for its organized labor in the auto industry.

Snyder sent a letter to the chief justice of the court, asking him to rule on the law before the court’s term ends in July. "The uncertainty over the law's impact upon state civil servants that protracted litigation would create would be very divisive," Snyder wrote in his letter.

According to Robert McCann, press secretary to the state’s Democratic leader, the governor is trying to bypass the lower courts in order to get a favorable ruling on the controversial law. "He is trying to do an end-run around the lower courts to get a favorable ruling," McCann said in a statement.

While critical of Snyder’s attempt to get the court to rule on the law, McCann said that even if the court ruled in his favor, opponents to the law will still have opportunities to file suits challenging the law.

Michigan is the 24th state to pass a right-to-work law—with several other states, such as Indiana, passing similar laws last year.

Read more about right-to-work laws on InsideCounsel:

Right-to-work law passes in Michigan amid protests

Right-to-work bill advances in Indiana

Ohio group seeks right-to-work amendment

Union sues to block enforcement of Indiana right-to-work law


Cathleen Flahardy

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