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State Supreme Court rules right-to-work law applies to state workers, upholds pension law

Jul 29, 2015

Credit photo courtesy of the MI Supreme Court

The Michigan Supreme Court dealt two blows to public employee unions on Wednesday.

The court ruled that Michigan’s right-to-work law does apply to state workers. That means they can decline to pay union dues without risking losing their jobs.

In a separate ruling, the court also upheld a 2011 law forcing state employees to contribute four percent of their earnings to pension benefits.

In both cases, public employees and the unions that represent them said the Michigan constitution gives the state Civil Service Commission sole power to make decisions about their pay and benefits.

“It’s just unfortunate that it would appear that the constitution that was ratified in 1963 is not holding water with this court,” said Ray Holman with UAW Local 6000.

“People were promised a pension if they put the time in and dedicated their careers to state service. And to have that diminished, we think that’s wrong and that’s unfortunate.”

At the same time, state officials who support right-to-work took to social media to applaud the ruling dealing with that law.

"A win for employees. They should decide without being forced,” wrote Lt. Gov. Brian Calley on Twitter.

“The ruling today is a great step forward for state workers and for state government,” state Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof posted on his Twitter account.