Right-to-work repealed in Michigan

April 1 • 2023

Michigan repealed its 11-year-old right-to-work law after a push from the Michigan Professional Fire Fighters Union (MPFFU) and other labor organizations in the state. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer made it official when she signed the legislation calling for the law’s removal at the end of March. 

“I applaud Gov. Whitmer and the state’s legislators for doing the right thing and getting rid of this unjust law,” said General President Edward Kelly. “We must all keep up the fight to preserve workers’ rights and use our collective voices to improve working conditions, wages, and benefits. When we fight as one, we win.” 

When the right-to-work law was proposed over a decade ago, the MPFFU and thousands of other supporters descended on the state capitol to protest. Despite the outcry, the law – which prohibits unions from requiring nonunion employees to pay dues, even if it bargains on their behalf – was still passed in 2012. 

MPFFU members were exempt from the law but continued to fight on behalf of unions.    

“The labor movement is at its best when we all stand together. I am very proud of everything MPFFU President Matthew Sahr and his team have done to help our union brothers and sisters in this fight,” said 8th District Vice President Mark Sanders. “This is a great day for all of labor in Michigan.” 

“We are very pleased with Gov. Whitmer and the state legislature’s action on this,” said Sahr. “The MPFFU is always proud to stand with its union brothers and sisters on any issue. Stronger unions equal a stronger working class.”