Several labor laws that were signed by Governor Whitmer throughout the year will be going into effect in 2024.
The repeal of Right To Work, Prevailing Wage and expansion of the Elliott-Larson Civil Rights Act will all impact the workplace upon implementation 90 days after the Legislature adjourns for the session; which could be in the coming weeks.
Michigan’s Right-To-Work Law
The repeal of Michigan’s Right-To-Work Law (Public Act 9 of 2023) removes the provisions that employees cannot be required to pay dues, fees, or other charges to a labor organization in order to obtain or continue their employment.
Why it matters: Being a right-to-work state held unions accountable as employees were not required to pay union dues as a condition of employment. Labor unions were required to show their value to employees to gain membership. When looking to expand or relocate, businesses look at states with right-to-work laws to help influence those decisions. This repeal makes Michigan less competitive with neighboring states and nationally.
The implementation of requiring prevailing wage (Public Act 10 of 2023) for state construction projects will set into statute that wages and fringe benefits paid to trades workers during state projects must be equal or exceed the wage and benefits that are standard in the locality of where the work is being performed.
Why it matters: The implementation of prevailing wage will likely have a direct impact on both the type of skilled trades businesses that bid on these projects, and the cost of these projects to complete. Many local contractors will avoid these projects due to the complexity and costs associated with complying with the higher wages and benefits. Costs for government-funded projects will increase, leading to tax-funded projects costing more with less available resources for additional projects.
Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act
The expansion of the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act (Public Act 6 of 2023) includes protection from discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity or expression. The ELCRA currently prohibits discrimination in employment, public accommodations and public services, educational facilities, and housing & real estate.
Why it matters: A highly talented and diverse workforce is key to moving our state forward. Attracting and retaining a skilled workforce goes beyond competitive wages and benefits. The Grand Rapids Chamber supported the amendment to the ELCRA.
The Grand Rapid’s Healthcare and Human Resources Committee have held meetings on these changes and have heard from experts on some of the impacts of these upcoming policy changes. The new laws will go into effect 90 days after the Legislature adjourns for the session (Sine Die).