Last month, Michigan became the first state in decades to repeal its right-to-work law. 

The Democratic-run legislature voted to repeal the 2012 law under the “Restoring Workers’ Rights” bill package. It goes into effect on March 30th, 2024. 

Governor Gretchen Whitmer (D-MI) celebrated the repeal in an official news release. 

Today, we are coming together to restore workers’ rights, protect Michiganders on the job, and grow Michigan’s middle class,” Governor Whitmer said. “Michigan workers are the most talented and hard-working in the world and deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. These bills will protect health and safety, ensuring healthcare workers can put patient care ahead of profit, construction workers can speak up when there’s a safety issue, and employees can call attention to food safety threats and other problems. Let’s continue delivering for working people and ensuring Michigan is open for business.

There’s a caveat though: The Michigan bill would require private sector employees to pay union dues and fees. Public sector employees, however, are exempt from the bill since the 2018 Janus decision ruled unions can’t mandate non-unionized public sector workers pay dues on First Amendment grounds.

This development is expected to negatively impact the Great Lake State’s business environment. 

Compared to unionized states, right-to-work states see greater economic growth and overall worker happiness regardless of worker status. 

A 2021 Harvard University study found that, compared to forced unionized states, residents in non-unionized states enjoy higher employment and labor force participation by 1.6 percentage points and 1.4 percentage points, respectively.

Another study determined both unionized and non-unionized workers in right-to-work states enjoyed a greater quality of life compared to their counterparts in other states. 

The re-introduced Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, if passed by Congress, would repeal these laws and jeopardize over 166 million worker livelihoods—over half of our population—residing in 27 states. 

In 2020, President Joe Biden campaigned on federally banning right-to-work laws, saying, “We should change the federal law [so] that there is no Right to Work allowed anywhere in the country. For real. Not a joke. Not a joke.”

Much to the chagrin of the president, 14 of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) allows states to enact prohibitions on forced unionism with right-to-work amendments.

To learn more about right-to-work, go HERE.