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Michigan court upholds employee rights for state workers

A Michigan court upheld a controversial right-to-work law that bans union fees as a condition of employment in the state. Employee rights were cited as the reason, but Michigan's heavily unionized work force saw the decision as a political strike against labor unions. The judges split 2-1 on the legality of the measure, a law that saw protests by thousands of union workers at the Capitol.

Under the new law, public and private sector workers can't be forced to pay dues to a union or other like fees as a condition of employment. The court challenge that was turned back questioned whether state employees were included in the ban. The technical point of contention was that the Michigan Civil Service Commission, which sets pay rates for state employees, had separate and distinct powers under the state's constitution.

In the decision, the judges said that the policy decision gave all employees the right to choose whether they would or wouldn't pay union dues, instead of being forced to do so. They added that they thought that the decision would remove politics from public jobs and end the debate over how public employees' union dues were spent. The dissenting judge said that the decision violated the state constitution, which allowed the MCSC to lay out all conditions of employment for state workers.

Any employee who feels that their employee rights have been violated might find helpful the services of a Michigan lawyer who's experienced in litigating employment claims. Such an attorney may be able to help a whistleblower fight a wrongful termination, or help ensure through legal action that an employee's rights are being protected under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Source: Huffington Post, "Michigan Right-To-Work Law Applies To State Workers", David Eggert, August 15, 2013