A coalition of Michigan labor unions—including the UAW—and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) asked a judge Thursday to strike down the recently passed "right to work" for less law because it was enacted while the public was locked out of the Capitol, which is a violation of the Open Meetings Act, the First Amendment and the Michigan Constitution.
While the "right to work" bills were being debated in the Michigan House and Senate Dec. 6, the Capitol doors were locked, preventing additional people from coming to witness or engage their legislators and also blocking journalists from covering the proceedings. Says Michigan State AFL-CIO President Karla Swift:
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. Any law passed while citizens were locked out of their Capitol building should be struck down.
According to the lawsuit, the lockout at the Capitol merely added to the legislators’ attempts to swiftly pass these bills with little public input. The bills were abruptly introduced during the last days of the lame-duck legislative session, already a period of diminished public accountability. Rather than allowing the bills to go through the standard committee hearing process where the public would have been invited to comment, the "right to work" language was introduced for the first time on the House and Senate floors on the same day the bills were passed.
Chris Savage of Michigan's Eclectablog also wrote about the lawsuit. Read: ACLU and Labor Coalition File Suit to Block Michigan’s Right to Work Legislation.