An Ingham County judge has dismissed a lawsuit challenging whether Michigan’s new right-to-work laws affect state employees.
Circuit Court Judge Rosemarie Aquilina said cases challenging right-to-work, which takes effect March 27, must be filed with the Michigan Court of Appeals, not at the circuit court level.
Aquilina’s order Monday was in response to a lawsuit filed Thursday by Novi attorney Andrew Paterson and union activist Robert Davis.
The individuals sought an injunction to prevent right-to-work from being imposed on state workers, which are under the purview of the Civil Service Commission.
In dismissing the lawsuit Monday, Aquilina said: “I want to be clear — I have no jurisdiction… The Court of Appeals has exclusive jurisdiction over any action challenging the validity of (the legislation).”
Republican Gov. Rick Snyder signed two bills into law on Dec. 11, making it illegal to require public- and private-sector employees to pay union dues as a condition of employment.
However, there’s been disagreement as to whether the public-sector right-to-work law conflicts with the Civil Service Commission’s power under the state constitution.
Two weeks ago, Snyder asked the Michigan Supreme Court to determine the legality of the issue, hoping to fend off lawsuits such as the one Aquilina dismissed Monday.
Paterson said he and Davis could either refile the lawsuit with the higher court or appeal Aquilina’s order in the existing case.
A separate lawsuit still moving through Ingham County Circuit Court seeks to void the right-to-work laws over alleged violations of Michigan’s open meetings act. That case was filed two weeks ago by a coalition of labor unions and the American Civil Liberties Union.
Also on Monday, labor unions filed suit in Detroit’s U.S. District Court in a new attempt to quash right-to-work in Michigan.
The Michigan AFL-CIO and the Building and Trades Council say the law that affects private sector workers is a violation of the U.S. Constitution because those unions are covered by federal, not state law.
“In their haste to enact right to work, the Legislature overreached,” said Andrew Nickelhoff, general counsel for the Michigan AFL-CIO.