Freedom to Work

Since Freedom to Work (FTW) laws in Michigan are relatively new and do not take effect until late March, 2013, it is premature to request stoppage of union dues or agency fees at this time.  After the effective date of the new law, an employee's ability to stop paying union dues or agency fees would depend on a number of factors, including: whether the contract has expired and/or the unexpired contract contains a "union security" or "agency shop" clause.  Answers to questions like yours (and from others) will be addressed as we approach the FTW effective date on March 28, 2013.  Please continue to review MERC's website at for more information regarding the application of the new FTW law in Michigan. You may also wish to seek legal advice on your options under this new legislation.


Frequently Asked Questions

On December 11, 2012, Governor Rick Snyder signed House Bill 4003 and Senate Bill 116 enacting "freedom-to-work" laws in Michigan. The new laws give Michigan workers the freedom to decide whether to join a union.

What does freedom-to-work mean for Michigan workers?

Today in Michigan, workers who choose not to pay union dues can lose their jobs under some union contracts. Under Michigan's new freedom-to-work laws, workers will have the freedom to choose whether or not to join a union. They won't be required to pay union dues if they don't want to, and they won't lose their jobs because of it.

Are unions now prohibited under the new laws?

No. The new laws merely say that agreements between employers and unions cannot require public or private sector employees to join a union or pay union dues or agency fees. Workers will now be able to pay union dues voluntarily.

Do the new laws prohibit collective bargaining?

No. Michiganders still have a right to join together with others to engage in collective bargaining. 


Are workplace health and safety regulations affected?

No, there is no impact on workplace health and safety regulations.


Do Michigan's freedom-to-work laws affect firefighters and police officers?


No. The laws preserve the status afforded to police and firefighters under Public Act 312, which reflects the hazardous nature of their jobs.


When do the laws take effect?

The new laws take effect on March 28, 2013.


How many other states have enacted freedom-to-work laws?

Michigan is now the 24th state to enact freedom-to-work laws.

Where can I find more information on Michigan's new freedom-to-work laws?

SB 116 is Public Act 348 of 2012. HB 4003 is PA 349 of 2012. Visit for more information on the legislation.