In a stunning blow to Governor Rick Snyder, the conservative leaning Michigan Supreme Court has denied the Governor's a request for an advisory opinion regarding whether the controversial right-to-work law Snyder signed in law December 2013, is constitutional.
“We are not persuaded that granting the request would be an appropriate exercise of the court’s discretion,” the court said in an order released today.
Instead of Governor Snyder's request being heard before Michigan's Supreme Court on a expeditionary basis, the Right-to-Work law will follow a judicial route from the States' Circuit Court to Michigan Court of Appeals, then to a possible appeal to the Michigan Supreme Court.
Any rulings made by the Lower Court not in favor of sustaining the "Right-to-Work" law, would declare the legislation null and void until a possible reversal by a Judicial body of higher standing, up to and including a final appeal to the State's Supreme Court.
Right-to-work laws make it illegal to require financial support of a union as a condition of employment, yet still requires union shops to represent all employees in disciplinary procedures per federal law. The Legislature rapidly passed legislation and Snyder signed in December 2012 despite large Capitol protests.
State employee unions argue that the law does not apply to them because the state constitution gives the Michigan Civil Service Commission exclusive jurisdiction over the terms of their employment as noted below.
The commission shall classify all positions in the classified service according to their respective duties and responsibilities, fix rates of compensation for all classes of positions, approve or disapprove disbursements for all personal services, determine by competitive examination and performance exclusively on the basis of merit, efficiency, and fitness the qualifications of all candidates for positions in the classified service, make rules and regulations covering all personnel transactions, and regulate all conditions of employment in the classified service."Michigan Civil Service Commission further defined its' authority over all State Governmental Employees, in section 6 of the Commission Rules Booklet.
"6-1.2 Constitutional Authority
The civil service commission recognizes that there are fundamental economic, political, and legal differences between employer -employee relations in the state service and those in the private sector and other public sector employment. It is the view of the commission that constitutional provisions do not prohibit the commission from establishing a form of collective bargaining analogous to that in other public sector employment, so long as the collective bargaining agreements are subject to review, modification, and approval by the commission."
Snyder requested the opinion in late January, saying he wanted to clear up uncertainty over the impact of the law.
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