On March 24, 2023, Michigan became the first state in decades to repeal its “Right-to-Work” law. Two days after Governor Whitmer signed the legislation into law, the Teamsters celebrated the repeal with the Governor. Michigan was one of 27 states with right-to-work laws that do not require private-sector employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement to pay dues or fees to a union. The following state currently have right-to-work laws: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Kansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
The repeal takes effect on March 30, 2024 and will require private-sector employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement to pay union dues or a service fee to the union as a condition of retaining employment. When the repeal takes effect, union security clauses that require employees to pay union dues or a service fee to the union will be legal in private-sector collective bargaining agreements. Therefore, Michigan employers should review their collective bargaining agreements to determine if the agreements already contain a union security clause or if the contract requires negotiations to be reopened to bargain such a clause if the right-to-work law was repealed. Michigan employers also should be prepared for their employees covered by collective bargaining agreements to request to move to financial core status, instead of paying the full dues assessment.
If you have any questions regarding the issues raised in this client alert, please contact your Labor and Employment counsel at Smith, Gambrell & Russell, LLP.