Meekhof’s freedom-to-choose bill sent to governor

LANSING—Freedom-to-choose legislation sponsored by state Sen. Arlan Meekhof to ensure workplace fairness and make Michigan more competitive for jobs is on its way to the governor to be signed.

“By passing freedom-to-choose legislation, we are announcing to the world that Michigan is ‘open-for-business’ and open to new opportunities,” said Meekhof, R-West Olive. “Ensuring fairness and equality in the workplace is both pro-employee and pro-employer. It will help build a strong economy with more jobs and empower Michigan families to decide what to do with their hard-earned dollars.

“Freedom-to-choose will enhance worker rights and make Michigan more attractive to new investment and jobs, and I am proud to lead the effort to bring these benefits to Michigan.”

Meekhof’s measure, Senate Bill 116, prohibits private sector workers from being required to join or pay dues to a labor organization as a condition of employment. House Bill 4003 provides the same protections for public employees, except police and fire fighters covered under binding arbitration.

“This reform gives each and every worker in our state the freedom to choose whether or not they would like to be a member of a union,” Meekhof said. “Michigan workers will finally have the freedom to associate rather than a mandate. By ensuring this choice, we allow workers to make whatever decision they determine to be best for their families. For many that choice may be to stay with or join a union, but for some it may not be. Now, both choices will be protected.”

Michigan is the 24th state to pass freedom-to-choose legislation. Indiana became the 23rd state in February. Since that time, nearly 100 businesses have told Indiana officials that the workplace fairness law will factor into their decision on where to locate projects.

“Workplace fairness laws have already had a positive impact in neighboring Indiana and have a long, proven record of creating jobs in many other states,” Meekhof said. “In the end, this is about standing up for worker freedoms and doing everything we can to energize our economy so that we have jobs to support today’s Michigan workers and those of generations yet to come.”

SB 116 and HB 4003 now head to the governor to be signed into law.