Lansing, Mich.—The Michigan Civil Service Commission on Sept. 20 voted 3-1 to prohibit state workers’ unions from bargaining on issues related to the “employer’s right to assign staff,” including scheduling and privileges for seniority. The changes, which will go into effect Jan. 1, 2019, will also nullify union contract provisions affecting bumping, overtime scheduling, and transfers. Commissioner Janet McClelland said the rule changes would enable the state government to operate “through efficient and standardized processes.” Hundreds of union members filled the commission’s chambers to protest the changes. “This is a political decision, and it has nothing to do with efficiencies in state government,” said SEIU 517M Treasurer Liza Estlund Olson. Unions led the opposition to the changes, which were supported by the Michigan Chamber of Commerce and two far-right think tanks, the Mackinac Center for Public Policy and the Michigan Freedom Fund. Commissioner Robert Swanson, the one dissenter, said that unilaterally changing the rules “is antithetical to the collective bargaining process.” Read more


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