Civil Service Commission Proposes Rule Changes for Union Dues Authorization and Service Fee Collection

by Bruce Walker


The Michigan Civil Service Commission last Friday issued a notice of proposed changes in the how unions collect money from state employees.

The two proposed changes pertain to payroll deduction of union dues, discontinuing of union service fees, and authorization to collect union dues from employees.

The first amendment to current CSC rules is to Article 6-71, which required employee authorization for deduction of union dues and service fees. If the CSC amendment is approved, the rules would change to prohibit collecting service fees via payroll deduction and become effective Jan. 1, 2022.

The second amendment is to CSC Article 6-72, which would require unions to notify employees of their right to join or not join collective bargaining agreements on an annual basis.

“Effective September 1, 2020, an authorization will expire if not authorized or reauthorized during the previous year. The director shall provide annual notice to all exclusively represented employees of the right to join or not join an exclusive representative without affecting employment status, the right not to maintain membership in an exclusive representative to retain employment, an exclusive representative’s duty of fair representation to all bargaining‐unit members, and the prohibition on union activities during actual‐duty time,” the amendment reads.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, issued a statement late Friday in which she stated the proposed amendments “weaken collective bargaining rights for state employees” during the current coronavirus pandemic. The governor’s release also notes the four members of the CSC were all appointed by her predecessor, former Gov. Rick Snyder, a Republican.

“Make no mistake, this action is a direct assault on our hardworking state employees, who are serving bravely on the frontlines to protect the people of Michigan from COVID-19,” Gov. Whitmer said in a statement.

“We are in the middle of a global pandemic and the worst economic crisis in our lifetimes, and the notion that Civil Service Commission would choose this moment to take power away from our health care workers, road repair workers, corrections officers, and unemployment call center employees is unthinkable,” she added.

“This action will make it harder for these frontline workers to negotiate together for strong wages, health care, and a secure retirement. I’m calling on the civil service commissioners to do the right thing and reject this anti-worker proposal. Our frontline state workers have our backs, and now it’s time for us to have theirs,” she said.

“Some current authorizations were submitted decades ago when employees were unaware of later developments in [U.S. Supreme Court lawsuits] Green and Janus,” the CSC notice reads.

“Most current service-fee payers submitted authorizations while legally compelled to pay either that fee or higher dues. The Janus court held that ‘nonmembers are waiving their First Amendment rights, and such a waiver cannot be presumed,’ that employees must ‘affirmatively consent,’ and that the waiver ‘must be freely given and shown by ‘clear and compelling’ evidence.”

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Bruce Walker is a regional editor at The Center Square. He previously worked as editor at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy’s MichiganScience magazine and The Heartland Institute’s InfoTech & Telecom News.






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