The ACLU and labor unions have filed an amended lawsuit to set aside Michigan’s new right-to-work law, saying they don’t disagree with the substance of the law but with the process in which it was enacted.
They are asking Ingham County Circuit Judge William E. Collette to strike down the law passed in December because the public was locked out of the Capitol in Lansing in violation of Michigan’s Open Meetings Act, the First Amendment right to petition government and their right under the Michigan Constitution to instruct their representatives.
The suit argues the public was also deprived of their right to participate in the legislative process.
The suit alleges that the public and some journalists were locked out of the Capitol Dec. 6, when lawmakers passed the right-to-work legislation.
The suit also claims the viewing galleries overlooking the House floor were intentionally packed with legislative staff so the public could not get in.
The lawsuit does not take issue with the substance of the right-to-work law, but rather with the illegal and undemocratic process used in enacting it.
“Regardless of how you feel about right-to-work laws, everyone has a stake in seeing that our government conducts business in a democratic and transparent way,” said Karla Swift, president of the Michigan AFL-CIO in a statement. “Any law passed while citizens were locked out of their capitol building should be struck down.”
The right-to-work debate in Lansing drew more than 10,000 protesters outside the Capitol.
The new law is schedule to take effect in late March.
Democrats in the state Senate have also introduced legislation to repeal the law.
Contact Charles Crumm at 248-745-4649, firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @crummc and on Facebook.