Court of Appeals upholds Freedom to Work law

LANSING – The Michigan Court of Appeals today issued a published decision upholding the constitutionality of the Freedom to Work law (PA 349) as applied State employees, ruling that the legislature—not the Civil Service Commission—speaks for the People of Michigan when implementing labor policy.

“Today the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled the Freedom to Work law constitutional—a great opportunity for the hardworking women and men of Michigan,” said Schuette. “As the law is written, public sector employees will receive the same freedoms and choices as private sector employees.  Everyone will be treated equally.”

A 2-1 panel from the Michigan Court of Appeals today issued a published decision in UAW v Green.  An excerpt from the majority opinion follows, with emphasis added:

Accordingly, we hold that, contrary to plaintiffs’ claim, it is within the authority of the Legislature to pass laws on public policy matters in general and particularly those, as here, that unquestionably implicate constitutional rights of both union and nonunion public employees. Neither the language of Const 1963, art 11, § 5, the history of civil service law in the state of Michigan, nor the language of Const 1963, art 4, §§ 48-49, precluded the Legislature from enacting PA 349, and applying this statute to the classified civil service. The CSC’s power to “regulate” civil service employment does not infringe on the legislative power under art 4, § 49, to enact laws relative to conditions of employment, and applying those laws toward all employment in the state, public and private, civil service or non-civil service. Finally, Michigan case law fully supports the principle that the Legislature as the policymaking branch of government, has the power to pass labor laws of general applicability that also apply to classified civil service employees. For these reasons, we hold that 2012 PA 349 is constitutional as applied to classified civil service positions in Michigan. (p. 17)