GOP Moves to 'Modernize' Union Contracts in Michigan

Monday, 01 Apr 2013 01:54 PM

By Bill Hoffmann

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Conservative activists in Michigan are taking another swipe at unions, urging Republican lawmakers to ban exclusivity clauses for public-sector unions, The Detroit News reports.

A ban would put a stop to the state's recognition that a union is the sole representative in bargaining for a particular group of workers.

The proposal comes on the heels of Michigan’s just-passed right-to-work law, which took effect only five days ago, that makes financial support of a labor union optional in unionized workplaces. Labor supporters fear the law will lead to "freeloader" workers who reap the benefits of union collective bargaining without having to pay dues.

Republican state Rep. Mike Shirkey, the lead advocate of the right-to-work law, has drafted a bill to eliminate exclusive representation for unions.

"The freeloader argument only exists because unions choose to put the exclusivity clauses into contracts," Shirkey told the News.

"I think this is the next modernization of union-worker contracts in the government sector."

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