Traverse City Record-Eagle

Opinion

July 17, 2013

Another View: Right-to-Work in for long court struggle

The Michigan Supreme Court passed on Gov. Rick Snyder’s plea to settle the Right-to-Work law’s constitutionality, likely ensuring a long battle over the contentious law.

RTW outlaws union dues as a condition of employment. Snyder hoped the court would sign off on the statute and quiet widespread objections about the way it was enacted.

The Legislature’s Republican majority quickly devised and passed RTW during its lame-duck session before the Christmas holiday. The law was passed with little debate and signed by Snyder.

It’s kind of curious that the court’s conservative Republican majority passed up the chance to weigh in on RTW. The court said it wasn’t convinced making such a ruling now was “appropriate exercise” of its discretion. Snyder’s critics read that as more proof he doesn’t carry much weight with the GOP’s right.

There is no guarantee the state’s top court would have the last word, anyway. Anti-RTW lawsuits are in state and federal courts, and one prompted Snyder’s request that the Supreme Court fast-track its ruling on RTW. That suit argues Michigan’s Constitution gives the state Civil Service Commission jurisdiction over public worker employment rules and conditions, therefore making RTW inapplicable.

Another lawsuit contends state officials violated the Open Meetings Act. When state police sealed the Capitol building when RTW legislation was being considered, plaintiffs argue that act illegally prevented the public from attending the session.

Another lawsuit, a federal challenge, states RTW is at odds with the U.S. Constitution and federal labor laws.

There is no dispute that the law is divisive, in the way it was created and its application in this strong union state. In or out of the courts, the RTW battle is far from finished.

Times Herald (Port Huron)

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