New laws giving Michigan workers the freedom to decide whether to join a union also will help drive our economic comeback by making the state more competitive, Gov. Rick Snyder said this week.
Snyder signed House Bill 4003 and Senate Bill 116, making Michigan the 24th state to enact "freedom-to-work" laws.
"These new laws are pro-worker and pro-Michigan," Snyder said. "Workers deserve the right to decide for themselves whether union membership benefits them. We also must make Michigan more inviting to job providers so our families can enjoy more and better jobs. Introducing freedom-to-work in Michigan will contribute to our state's economic comeback while preserving the roles of unions and collective bargaining."
Snyder pointed out that while Michigan is recovering from its decade-long downturn, much work remains.
The governor also highlighted reforms being adopted in neighboring Indiana. That state enacted a right-to-work law earlier this year. The Indiana Economic Development Corp. (IEDC) recently reported that it already has worked with a record 220 companies this year that have decided to expand or set up operations in the state. In fact, 90 companies have told the IEDC that Indiana's enactment of its right-to-work law will factor into their location decisions.
"Michigan has added 140,000 jobs during the last two years and we're projected to add 110,000 more," Snyder said. "But Michigan still lost over 750,000 jobs from 2000 to 2010. We still have a long road ahead of us and we can't afford to fall behind other states. Giving workers the freedom to choose when it comes to union membership is good for individual workers and good for job providers. We'll be a stronger, more vibrant state because of freedom-to-work, our improved tax structure, the balanced budget and other reforms that have put Michigan on the path to prosperity."
Michigan's laws do not prohibit unions or collective bargaining. Nor do they impact workplace health and safety regulations. They merely say that agreements between employers and unions cannot require public- or private-sector employees to join a union or pay union dues. The laws preserve the status afforded to police and firefighters under Public Act 312, which reflects the hazardous nature of their jobs.
The laws take effect 90 days after the Legislature adjourns.
SB 116 is Public Act 348 of 2012. HB 4003 is PA 349 of 2012. Visit www.legislature.mi.gov for more information on the legislation.
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