Panel: State workers must reauthorize union dues deduction

Michigan

LANSING, Mich. (AP) – Unionized state employees will have to reauthorize the deduction of dues from their paycheck every year or the contributions will stop under a rule change adopted by a Michigan panel over objections from Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

The Civil Service Commission, whose members were appointed by Republican former Gov. Rick Snyder, approved the revision 3-1 Monday.

Starting Sept. 1, an authorization to deduct dues will expire if it wasn’t authorized or reauthorized in the previous year.

The Michigan Democratic Party was quick to respond to the revision, saying, in part:

“We are disappointed in the decision today by the Michigan Civil Service Commission to create unnecessary and dangerous barriers to joining and maintaining membership with a union. The new rule will force workers to opt-in on paying union dues annually, making it harder for workers to organize and undermining labor unions’ right to collectively bargain with employers.”

Michigan Democratic Party

Beginning in 2022, the state will discontinue “agency” fees paid by workers who don’t wish to be members of a union to cover bargaining costs.

In 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that such “fair share” fees were unconstitutional. Michigan’s 2012 “right-to-work” law prohibits an employer and a union from signing a contract that would require workers to pay dues or fees to the union that represents them.

The Michigan State AFL-CIO, in a letter sent to the panel last week, said there was no justification for prohibiting voluntary service fees or requiring union members to annually reauthorize their voluntary dues deductions.

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