to the Court of Appeals and Supreme Court are typically appeals of orders
issued by lower courts. However, in this case, the Legislature placed in the
Court of Appeals exclusive original jurisdiction over challenges to 2012 PA 349
(PA 349), colloquially called a “right to work” law.
349 amends the public employment relations act (PERA), and states that public
employers—that is, the government—cannot require governmental employees to join
a union or pay union dues, fees, or other expenses “as a condition of
obtaining or continuing public employment . . . .” The plaintiff unions challenge the
Legislature’s constitutional authority to pass PA 349 with respect to
classified state civil service employees.
Plaintiffs argue that, under Const 1963, art 11, § 5, the Civil Service
Commission (CSC) has the exclusive authority to regulate “all conditions of
employment” for this group of governmental employees. They also argue that the CSC has the
authority to collect agency fees from union-eligible employees who opt out of
union membership. PA 349, which
prohibits the collection of such fees, intrudes on the Civil Service
Commission’s sphere of authority, plaintiffs argue. Defendants responded that the Legislature has
the constitutional authority under art 4, § 49 to enact laws applicable to all
employees, public and private.
a split published opinion, the Court of Appeals held that PA 349 applies to
employees in the classified state civil service, and that the Legislature has
the authority to enact legislation with regard to agency fees.
appealed. On January 29, 2014, the Supreme Court granted the application for
leave to appeal.