Newly installed Democratic majorities in the Michigan House and Senate voted in March to repeal a “right-to-work” law that Republican legislators passed in 2012, and to restore the state’s prevailing wage law, which GOP lawmakers had repealed.
Right-to-work is the somewhat misleading name for state laws that ban any requirement that union-represented workers pay union dues. Common in Southern and Great Plains states, the laws are meant to keep unions permanently weak and starved of funds. Prevailing wage laws, meanwhile, require that workers be paid area standard wages on public construction jobs.
Michigan’s Democratic governor Gretchen Whitmer signed the two bills into law March 24. Michigan is one of few states ever to repeal a right-to-work law, and the first state to do so since 1965. Twenty-six states remain right-to-work.