Right-to-work applies to Michigan state workers

LANSING, Mich. — A divided Michigan appeals court ruled Thursday that the state’s right-to-work law applies to 35,000 state employees.

In the first major legal decision on the much-debated, Republican-backed law eight months after its passage, judges voted 2-1 to reject a lawsuit filed by labor unions. The passage of the measure drew thousands of protesters to the state Capitol late last year.

The law prohibits forcing public and private workers in Michigan to pay union dues or fees as a condition of employment, and applies to labor contracts extended or renewed after late March. It went to court after questions were raised whether it applies to state workers, since the Michigan Civil Service Commission, which sets compensation for state employees, has separate powers under the state constitution.

The majority said lawmakers have the authority to pass laws dealing with union fees.

“In light of the First Amendment rights at stake, the Michigan Legislature has made the policy decision to settle the matter by giving all employees the right to choose,” Judges Henry Saad and Pat Donofrio wrote.

The dissent said the court’s decision strips the civil service panel of its “regulatory supremacy.”

Multiple lawsuits have been filed to strike down the law in a mainstay of organized labor. Legal challenges in neighboring Indiana, which passed a right-to-work law just before Michigan did, have been unsuccessful.

More in Herald Business Journal

Mother-in-law homes popular after cities ease restrictions

Lynnwood and Everett are seeing a spurt of growth after changing city codes to allow for this development.

3 must-try doughnuts when Top Pot opens in Edmonds

After two years of work, the popular Seattle chain is opening its second Snohomish County location.

Facebook bans Trump-affiliated data firm Cambridge Analytica

The company allegedly held onto improperly obtained user data after claiming to have deleted it.

Boeing’s newest 737 Max makes first flight over Seattle

Prospects for the new aircraft — the Max 7 — are hazy, as low-cost carriers migrated to larger models.

Boeing’s an early casualty as investors dig in for trade war

The company’s share price is headed toward its biggest weekly slump in more than two years.

A niche Bothell publisher is becoming a mortgage matchmaker

Scotsman Guide has long served lending professionals. Now it’s offering information to borrowers.

Superstore chain Fred Meyer to stop selling guns, ammunition

Guns have been sold at nearly 45 of more than 130 stores in Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Alaska.

Trump’s possible China tariffs bring loud protests — in US

A potential trade war could reverberate across the U.S. economy.

Nike president to leave as company reviews improper conduct

By Matt Townsend / Bloomberg Nike is reviewing improper conduct at the… Continue reading

Does the IRS have your money?

The agency says it has refunds worth $1.1 billion just waiting to be claimed.

Federal investigation into Wells Fargo broadens

Wells Fargo already is wrestling with the aftermath of a scandal in its retail banking unit.

LL Bean: No bonus after tough year, more jobs to be cut

CEO Steve Smith said nearly 500 workers took advantage of a voluntary early-retirement program.