Controversial Measure Targeting Michigan Unions Could Clear State Senate This Week

Jake Neher/WDET

State Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof (R-West Olive) with a group of Senate Republicans.

It’s the third week of the Michigan Legislature’s frenzied lame duck session. There are plenty of hotly debated bill that could fly through the Michigan House and Senate.

Click here for a list of some of the bills moving in the state Legislature that aren’t grabbing many headlines right now.

One controversial bill targets public employee unions. It would require members to vote every two years to re-certify or disband their union.

A spokesperson for Republican Senate Leader Arlan Meekhof (R-West Olive) says he introduced the bill because it would give workers more power to hold their unions accountable.

He doesn’t think it’s a bad idea to allow the workers to weigh in to say, is this the best organization to be bargaining on our behalf or could we find better representation elsewhere?” Meekhof spokesperson Amber McCann told reporters last Thursday afternoon.

But Democratic opponents in the state Senate say Republicans are trying once again to weaken unions in Michigan, comparing the bill to the 2012 Right to Work law.

To me it’s just an acknowledgement that the Right to Work law that they passed was a failure, because if you have right to work and it’s operating the way they say it was going to, why would you need to do re-certifications?” said state Senate Democratic Leader Jim Ananich (D-Flint).

There’s no need for it,” Ananich continued. ”All it would do is cost the state and both the workers and the union a lot more money.”

The legislation has cleared a state Senate committee and awaits action on the Senate floor.