MichiganVotes Bills

Michigan House bill lets government schools deduct union dues from paychecks

House Bill 4233 would repeal prohibition on union financing through taxpayer-funded resources

The House Labor Committee will consider on Thursday a bill to undo a ban on the use of public school resources to collect union dues.

House Bill 4233 was introduced March 9 by Rep. Jaime Churches, D-Grosse Ile, and referred to the labor committee. The bill raises questions about the appropriate relationship between schools and teachers unions.

Read it for yourself: House Bill 4233 of 2023

Steve Delie, director of labor policy at the Mackinac Center, offered written testimony to the House Labor Committee, opposing the bill.

“The Mackinac Center opposes this bill on the simple grounds that public monies should not be used to assist private organizations,” Delie testified.

“School funding should be devoted to improving the education of Michigan students, ensuring they have the skills resources and instruction to prepare them for success in the future,” Delie added. “Diverting this funding to exclusively benefit unions offers no such benefit.”

Michigan lawmakers repealed the right-to-work law, but due to a 2018 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Janus v. AFSCME, right-to-work still applies to government employees, meaning they have a First Amendment right to opt out of labor unions.

Legislators cannot undo the court’s decision, but they can enact laws to make life easier for unions.

That’s what House Bill 4233 would do. A separate bill in the upper chamber, Senate Bill 169, calls for government offices to pass along their employees’ contact information to unions, which can then use that information to drum up financial support and reach workers who have opted out of union membership.

If you’re reading a bill that amends a current law, there are two ways to spot changes. Bold type indicates an addition to the law, while strikethroughs show what would be removed from the law. In House Bill 4233 it’s the strikethroughs that matter.

As the House Fiscal Agency analysis explains:

Currently, public school employers are prohibited from using public school resources to assist a labor organization in collecting dues or service fees from the wages of their employees. House Bill 4233 would eliminate this provision.

Section 10B points toward the big change in House Bill 4233. As a screenshot of that section explains, under current law it’s a “prohibited contribution” to labor unions when public schools use government resources to make it easier unions to collect dues.

The House Labor Committee will meet Thursday at 9 a.m. to discuss House Bill 4233.

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.