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Employees don't have to join unions in Michigan

Employees still have the option to join unions if they would like. Unions often help to give employees more of a voice and more power in dictating the terms of their employment, and many feel that this is helpful. However, due to downsides like union dues and strikes that all employees may not agree with, some do not feel that joining unions is wise.

In Michigan, thanks to the "right to work" laws, employees still have the choice. Union membership cannot be a requirement if employees want to continue working at a specific job. Both those within the union and those without have to be given the same opportunities to work. Requiring employees to join unions -- perhaps by threatening them with termination if they do not join, for example -- is illegal.

It is also illegal for employers to require employees to donate money (sometimes done as a form of payment) or to pay regular dues. Companies that violate these laws can be fined $500 for each time it happens, which can quickly rack up a lot of fines when multiple employees are involved.

Having the law written this way, with the direct prohibition on paying dues, makes it impossible for companies to claim that workers are technically not in the union, all while still making them pay as if they were. Workers who want nothing to do with the union have the right to work in the fashion they choose.

This isn't done to eliminate unions, but to put the power to join on the workers themselves. If you work in the state, make sure you know what rights you have and what to do if they're violated.

Source: FIndLaw, "Michigan Right to Work Laws," accessed Sep. 05, 2016

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