Unions for State Workers in Michigan Now Need Regular Consent Before Withholding Dues From Paychecks

MIDLAND, Mich. — Some public employers in Michigan must now obtain direct consent from their employees before withholding any union dues from employee paychecks. This is thanks to a rule change issued today by the Michigan Civil Service Commission and recommended by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy’s Workers for Opportunity initiative.

“Michigan joins a growing number of states that are working to further protect the First Amendment rights that were upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in the 2018 Janus decision,” said Steve Delie, legal counsel and director of Workers for Opportunity. “Michigan workers deserve to know where the money from their hard-earned paycheck is going. Implementation of these rule changes is a positive step towards protecting workers across the state.”

This policy change brings Michigan into compliance with the 2018 U.S. Supreme Court Janus v. AFSCME decision. The Court ruled that government unions could no longer force workers to financially support them, as this violated public employees’ First Amendment rights. As a result, the court said employees must give “clear and compelling evidence” that they consent to having dues removed from their paychecks. This requires public employers to demonstrate this proof before they may withhold union dues from employees’ paychecks.

The state will no longer be able to deduct dues from an employee’s paycheck unless they provide direct consent. The consent given by employees will need to be renewed on an annual basis to ensure workers' consent to dues deduction is knowingly and freely given. Employees will also be allowed to opt out at any time. The ruling only applies to state employees who work under the control of the Michigan Civil Service Commission.

Michigan joins a growing number of states that are complying with the Janus decision in this manner. The rule change follows gubernatorial and attorney general actions in Alaska, Texas and Indiana, as well as legislation introduced in numerous states.

“The Michigan Civil Service Commission should be applauded for defending the free speech of state employees by adding language to their rules that would fully implement the Supreme Court’s decision in Janus v. AFSCME,” said F. Vincent Vernuccio, senior fellow for the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. “The change ensures that the Civil Service Commission’s regulations and processes are protecting the constitutional rights of state employees as outlined in Janus.”

You can learn more about Workers for Opportunity here.

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