After languishing in the Committee on Commerce since January 13, 2011, House Bill 4054, the “Michigan Right to Work” bill, was fast tracked today after being discharged from committee with approval yesterday, and passed the Michigan House of Representatives today on a 58-52 vote.

We talked about this today on Flint’s News Talk 1470 WFNT (Brenda Brissette-Mata & Dan Foley, weekdays 10a—11a).  Would this legislation give employees who choose not to join a union the benefit of union negotiated contracts without paying union dues?  This was the question that came up.

As far as I can see, there is nothing in the bill itself to suggest this is the case.  Perhaps employers would offer the same pay and benefits to employees who opt out, but there is no requirement for this in the bill.  Those who argue that this will happen suggest that such employees would be “free riders” not paying their “fair share,” to use the current charge.  But this will be up to the employer; nothing in the bill mandates this.  Such employees would be taking their chances, and unions would have a chance to demonstrate their worth.  It will be easy to compare how union represented workers and non-represented workers fare, if Michigan workers are given the right to work without being forced to join a union.