State flag of Michigan

On March 21, 2023, the Michigan Senate passed Senate Bill No. 34 in the final step of the legislative process to repeal Michigan’s right-to-work law governing private-sector employers. The Senate’s action comes on the heels of the Michigan House of Representatives’ passage of a similar bill, House Bill 4005, on March 8, 2023. The legislation will next move to Governor Gretchen Whitmer for her likely signature.

The legislation, if approved by Governor Whitmer, is slated to go into effect ninety-one days after the end of the current legislative session, which means March 30, 2024, would be the effective date. Once the law goes into effect, Michigan will become the first state to have repealed its right-to-work law, thereby reducing the number of right-to-work states in the United States to twenty-six.

In preparation for passage of the law, employers with unionized workforces may want to review their collective bargaining agreements to determine if they contain language that makes union security part of the contract, or requires reopening the contract for bargaining, upon repeal or invalidation of the right-to-work law. Employers without such language may want to be prepared to negotiate over union security when their labor contracts expire.

Ogletree Deakins’ Detroit (Metro) office will continue to monitor developments with respect to the likely repeal of Michigan’s right-to-work law and will post updates on the Michigan blog as additional information becomes available. Important information for employers is also available via the firm’s webinar and podcast programs.

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