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Michigan Right to Work Laws

Michigan has always been a state of building things. We made America’s soundtrack in Motown and America’s cars in the Motor City. And unions have played a huge part getting those things made. In 2012, Michigan passed a law affecting how unions can interact with the companies that employ their members. Here’s a quick summary of what are known as right-to-work laws in Michigan.

Right to Work Laws

A growing number of states have enacted what are called "right-to-work" laws, which prohibit the requirement of union membership to get and keep a job. Michigan's right-to-work laws prohibit employers from requiring union membership, payment of dues, or payment into a particular charitable organization as a condition of employment. Violations are punishable by a $500 fine per instance.

Right to Work Statutes in Michigan

The following chart lists the main provisions of Michigan's right-to-work laws.

Code Section

Michigan Compiled Laws, section 423.14

Policy on Union Membership, Organization, etc.

An individual shall not be required as a condition of obtaining or continuing employment to do any of the following:

(a) Refrain or resign from membership in, voluntary affiliation with, or voluntary financial support of a labor organization.

(b) Become or remain a member of a labor organization.

(c) Pay any dues, fees, assessments, or other charges or expenses of any kind or amount or provide anything of value to a labor organization.

(d) Pay to any charitable organization or third party an amount that is in lieu of, equivalent to, or any portion of dues, fees, assessments, or other charges or expenses required of members of or employees represented by a labor organization.

Prohibited Activity

(see above)


Civil fine of not more than $500.00

In essence, right-to-work laws regulate the contracts between employers and unions, preventing employers from excluding non-union workers or requiring existing employees to join a union or pay union dues. 23 states and Michigan have right-to-work laws, some of which are relatively new. Therefore the impact of the laws on wages and collective bargaining agreements has yet to be determined. Business interests and local chambers of commerce lobbied heavily for right-to-work laws, while unions opposed them.

Michigan Right to Work Laws: Related Resources

State laws can change, and employment laws especially can be complicated. If you would like legal assistance, you can contact a Michigan labor attorney in your area to discuss your case. If you would like to do more of your own research you can visit FindLaw’s Employee Rights Center.

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