Lawmakers pass 'Right to Work' legislation, Snyder signs bills into law

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LANSING, Mich. (AP) - The Michigan Legislature has given final approval to a contentious right-to-work plan limiting the power of unions, sending it to Republican Gov . Rick Snyder who signed the bills late Tuesday.

The GOP-controlled House passed two bills Tuesday that were previously approved by the Senate. One dealt with public-sector workers and another focused on the private sector. Both chambers had approved a version of the private sector bill last week.

The labor stronghold of Michigan would become the 24th right-to-work state, banning requirements that nonunion employees pay unions for negotiating contracts and other services.

Passage followed numerous unsuccessful challenges from Democrats as well as raucous protests inside and outside the Capitol from thousands of pro-union demonstrators.

Here is what happens now: The law goes into effect 90 days after this legislative session ends which is technically December 31. Beyond that, a worker can not opt out of a union until the current contract expires.

For example, the UAW contract with the automakers runs to September of 2015, so UAW workers who might want to stop paying union dues have to wait until this contract ends.

A constitutional lawyer, Robert Sedler, says there could be some difficult times when the law goes into effect in some union plants especially when workers are on the line, side-by-side, and some are paying union dues and others are not, but still getting the union benefits.


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