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Union Re-Certification Bill very real in Michigan

Republicans year-end effort to weaken bargaining, a death blow to unions

Brian Young's picture
Dec 12, 2018

There are just a few weeks left until the New Year and a new Governor in Michigan. Knowing that they only have a few weeks of absolute power left, Republicans in the state are using the lame duck session to make a final push to weaken unions.

The most controversial bill targets public sector unions. The bill would force these locals to hold re-certification votes every two years. If the local loses the vote, they would lose the ability to represent the workforce. Over the last few years, re-certification votes have become a staple of union busting legislation. Iowa passed a similar bill in 2016 and other states have considered them in recent years.

Like many other union-busting pieces of legislation, re-certification votes are all about depleting the union's bank account. They often cost each local tens of thousands of dollars, which comes out of dues money. Instead of spending that money on representing the members, the local instead has to use it on conducting a re-certification election. Often times the laws are also stacked against the union. In Iowa, anyone who chose not to vote was automatically counted as a No vote against the union. This forces the union to meet a much higher threshold to win, than any politician would have to face in an election.

“It would force us to funnel our resources to the efforts for this regular recertification instead of using those resources to build a strong contract, improve working conditions for graduate workers and do the work that we feel we are supposed to be doing as a union,” Emily Gauld, president of the Graduate Employees’ Organization, told the Michigan Daily. “It would very clearly have a very negative impact on the union as a whole.”

The re-certification bill has cleared a State Senate committee and is expected to be voted on by the full Senate in the coming days.

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