The Michigan Supreme Court has agreed to decide whether the right-to-work law applies to 34,000 state civil service workers.
The court ordered the state and public employee unions to file briefs in anticipation of oral arguments later this year. The unions are appealing a lower court decision from last summer. It said the right-to-work law does apply to state civil service workers. The law says workers do not have to pay union dues or fees to hold a job, although the union is still obligated to represent them.
State employee unions say the law is trumped by the Michigan Constitution – specifically, the provision that says the Michigan Civil Service Commission sets the work rules for state employees. The court will also hear a union challenge to the state law that requires civil service workers to contribute more of their paychecks toward their pensions, or have their retirement benefits reduced.