Heartland.org: Six years after Michigan enacted a landmark right-to-work law, public-sector employees in the Wolverine State are opting out of union membership, draining union coffers of a once-reliable stream of dues.
Before passage of the right-to-work law in 2013, 96 percent of Michigan’s public employees paid dues to a union, says Tyler Arnold of Watchdog.org, a project of the Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity, using data compiled by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Today, 76 percent of public workers are union members, based on federal reports the state’s largest unions file if they represent any private sector employees, says Arnold.
Although Michigan’s right-to-work law also applies to private-sector unions, the rebound in employment since the Great Recession has resulted in auto-worker union membership rising from 382,513 in 2012 to 430,871 today, though it remains far below the recent peak of 701,818 in 2002, states Jarrett Skorup of the Mackinac Center.
State’s Union Membership Declines
Some public sector unions have had their membership drop by 10 percent since the 2013 law went into effect. Others, such as the Michigan State Employees Association (MSEA) and Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 517M, have suffered a 20 percent decline in dues-paying members. read more