LANSING – Michigan's right-to-work law applies to 35,000 state employees, a divided state appeals court ruled Thursday in the first major legal decision on the much-debated measure eight months after it passed.
Judges voted 2-1 to reject a lawsuit filed by unionized workers who make up more than two-thirds of all state employees. In a state with a heavier presence of organized labor than most, thousands of protesters came to the Capitol late last year as the Republican-backed measure won quick approval in a lame-duck session.
The law prohibits forcing public and private workers in Michigan to pay union dues or fees as a condition of employment, and applies to labor contracts extended or renewed after late March. It went to court after questions were raised whether it can affect state employees, because the Michigan Civil Service Commission, which sets compensation for state employees, has separate powers under the state constitution.