The Michigan Supreme Court Hears Oral ArgumentsThe Michigan Supreme Court heard oral arguments on two monumental cases affecting MAGE/OPEIU employees along with all unions in the state.
The first case concerns an amendment to the public act that regulates public employment. The amendment prescribed that the government may no longer require governmental employees to join a union or pay union dues, fees, or other expenses as a condition of obtaining or continuing public employment. Unions questioned the legislature's constitutional authority to pass PA 349 with respect to classified state civil service employees. They argue that it is only within the province of the Civil Service Commission to make such changes. They also argue that the state has the authority to collect agency fees from union eligible employees who opt out of union membership.
The second case also impacts MAGE, OPEIU members. Those members hired before April 1, 1997 who had maintained membership in the state pension system were forced to choose either to contribute 4% of their income to that plan or to switch to a 401k plan. Also challenged was the change in the way overtime is applied to the calculation of "final average compensation". Once again the unions and MAGE argue that the legislature overstepped its authority since only the commission has plenary authority over the compensation and working conditions of state classified employees.
MAGE legal counsel, Brandon Zuk anticipates a ruling this year and expects that the Supreme Court will hear our 3% lawsuit after ruling on these two above mentioned cases. The MAGE 3% lawsuit was filed in response to the state reneging on a MAGE negotiated agreement for a 3% raise and 2% lump sum. This case has gone from the Court of Claims to the Court of Appeals to the Supreme Court then back to the Court of Appeals and back to the Supreme Court. “MAGE legal counsel Zuk indicated that if the Supreme Court affirms the lower court holdings that the State breached its agreement with MAGE, he then will seek damages from the Court of Claims.”