Lansing ó The Michigan Supreme Court has agreed to decide whether state employees are covered by the right-to-work law and whether it was legal for the Legislature to make significant changes to the state pension system.
The court indicated in an order released Thursday it would review a state appeals court ruling in August that said the less-than-year-old law making the payment of union dues and fees voluntarily does apply to 35,000 state workers.
The 2013 law says public and private workers in Michigan donít have to pay union dues or fees as a condition of employment. More than two-thirds of state employees are represented by unions.
Opponents say lawmakers are treading on the constitutional turf of the Michigan Civil Service Commission, which sets pay for state employees. The commission is dominated by appointees of former Gov. Jennifer Granholm, a Democrat.
The other case involves a 2011 law adopted by the Republican-controlled Legislature and signed by Gov. Rick Snyder that requires thousands of state employees to contribute 4 percent of their pay to get full pension benefits.
The appeals court struck down a portion of the law in August, saying only the Civil Service Commission can change compensation, not the Legislature. Unions had sued.
The law gives employees with pensions a choice: pay 4 percent to stay in the plan or freeze the pension benefit and move to a 401(k) retirement savings plan.