At a recent Michigan House Committee on Commerce and Trade, Republican lawmakers introduced a new bill that would replace HB 4052. Dubbed the “Death Star” bill by opponents, it would have wide reaching consequences on workers rights in the state of Michigan. The new bill, is sponsored by Rep. Earl Poleski (R). The reason this bill is so important is it abolishes any local ordinances governing employers’ relationship with employees. This means that any local ordinance that affects benefits, union organizing and strikes, wage disputes, apprenticeship programs, minimum wage, and LGBT protections would be overridden.

The second section of the bill spells out how this new legislation affects so many different parts of employment law. It states “that regulation of the employment relationship between a nonpublic employer and its employees is a matter of state concern and is outside the express or implied authority of local government bodies to regulate, absent express delegation of that authority to the local governmental body.” What this implies is any local ordinance created by a town, city, or other local government is no longer applicable and state law is now applied.

There is good and bad that could come from this bill. The good comes in the form of simplification for workers rights. Anywhere you would look for work in the state of Michigan, you could feel confident knowing what the minimum wage would be, how wage disputes would be handled, how unions would be treated and many more. The downside to the bill is that many local ordinances go above and beyond the state, meaning they provide better benefits and more protection for workers. East Lansing Mayor Nathan Triplett expressed his concern over the new bill on facebook. “It was painfully apparent that neither the Chairman nor the members of the Committee had an understanding or appreciation for just how broad the impact of this legislation would be. Frankly, no one, including the sponsor, actually knows the full scope.” (Nathan Triplett) So while there would be simplification, in some cases there would less protection for workers. Many people have been left wondering how this would affect them and what they need to do.

As an employee, you may want to see what local ordinances affect the job where you work and how that would change if the bill was passed into law. An example of this is workers rights and protections. There are 38 local nondiscrimination ordinances that would be obliterated by this law. Meaning you would lose rights and protections that you have if you are effected by one or more of the 38 ordinances. Since there are so many changes coming down from this bill, if you believe you would be significantly affected, contacting a local employment law attorney is advisable.

As this bill changes or if it becomes law, we will have more blog posts about its implications and what you need to know.

Photo by Junfu Han