Action Alerts

Right to Work Legislation in Michigan

Last Thursday, Michigan legislators passed one of the most anti-worker pieces of legislation the state has ever seen — a so-called Right to Work bill. It jeopardizes the livelihoods of working families throughout the state, particularly families of color.

After the legislature meets for a final vote, Governor Rick Snyder will decide this week whether to sign the bill into law. We need you to stand with our brothers and sisters in Michigan by urging the Governor to veto the legislation.

Contact Governor Rick Snyder and tell him he must veto any Right to Work legislation that reaches his desk. His number is: 517-373-3400.

For more than a century, labor unions and the NAACP have worked together to help form the backbone of the middle class. But this Right to Work bill will reverse all our hard work: gutting the power of working families, lowering wages, and decreasing access to education and healthcare.

Everyone will be impacted, there’s no two ways about it. Teachers, nurses, public safety workers, automobile workers, clergy, and so many others will be left without power on the job if this bill passes.

And it won’t only be union members, either. Workers in Right to Work states make on average $1,500 LESS per year, and studies have shown other state economies stagnated after passing similar bills.

We know who is behind these attacks. They are the same people who tried to take away your right to vote. We didn’t stand for it then, and we won’t stand for this new assault on working families now.

You have the power to stop this. Tell Governor Snyder to veto the Right to Work legislation:

Message from Benjamin Todd Jealous, President & CEO of the NAACP. Forwarded by incoming LAWCHA president, Nancy MacLean.

LAWCHA Member Activity

Email any member activity in recent conflicts over RTW law to


In the Media

The Truth About “Right-to-Work”

by Paul F. Cole, Executive Director American Labor Studies Center

Representatives designated or selected for the purposes of collective bargaining by the majority of the employees in a unit appropriate for such purposes, shall be the exclusive representatives of all the employees in such unit for the purposes of collective bargaining in respect to rates of pay, wages, hours of employment, or other conditions of employment.

– National Labor Relations Act (Sec. 9)

Under American labor law, unlike many other countries, when a majority of workers in a determined bargaining unit, vote to be represented by a union, that union becomes the exclusive representative of all workers in that unit. The purpose is to provide employees with a single, unified voice in determining their conditions of employment and the opportunity for employers to deal with one entity, instead of many competing ones, to establish the rights and responsibilities of both the employer and employees.

Federal law that governs private sector workers, as well as many state public employee laws, guarantees every worker who is represented by a union equal and nondiscriminatory representation – meaning unions must provide the same services, vigorous advocacy, and contractual rights and benefits. The guarantee applies regardless of whether the employee is a union member or not. All non-dues-paying employees are provided full union representation at no charge.

If you are not a member of the union, you are fully covered by the collective bargaining agreement that was negotiated between the union and your employer including wages, pensions, vacations, health insurance, seniority, and working hours.

The statutory right of exclusive representation mandates a “duty of fair representation” on the part of the union. It has the obligation to represent all employees fairly, in good faith, and without discrimination. The right to speak for all employees in the bargaining unit carries with it the corresponding duty to protect them as well.

Federal and state laws also guarantee that no one can be forced to be a member of a union, or to pay any amount of dues or fees to a political or social cause they do not support.

“Right-to-Work” laws make it illegal for employers and unions to mutually agree to require nonunion employees to pay fees to cover the benefits they legally receive under the collective bargaining agreement.

Fees have nothing to do with “forced unionism.”

Organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce, billionaire-funded conservative foundations and their Republican allies, want unions to be the only organizations in America that are required to provide benefits and services to individuals who pay nothing for them. This is the same as enabling some American citizens to opt out of paying taxes while making available all government services.

The real reason for the recent wave of “right-to-work” legislation, and other union weakening laws, has nothing to do with economic competitiveness but the weakening of the labor movement and its political influence. The only institution that stands in the way of the right wing’s domination of our nation’s political and economic system is the American labor movement.

This agenda was unmasked when Wisconsin State Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald explained that “this battle” is about eliminating unions so that “the money is not there” for the labor movement.

Last year, the Michigan director of Americans for Prosperity, chaired nationally by David Koch, said, “We fight these battles on taxes and regulations but really what we would like to see is to take the unions out at the knees so they don’t have the resources to fight these battles.”

In virtually every case, the state legislation is taken straight out of the Koch-funded American Legislatve Exchange Council (ALEC) playbook.

It was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who said, “In our glorious fight for civil rights, we must guard against being fooled by false slogans, such as ‘right-to-work.’ It is a law to rob us of our civil rights and job rights. Its purpose is to destroy labor unions and working conditions for everyone… we demand this fraud be stopped.”