The Michigan House of Representatives approved its right-to-work law illegally last week, while police locked the public out of the state Capitol, a union member claims in an Open Meetings Act complaint. The right-to-work law makes it illegal to demand union membership as a condition of employment, though workers who do not pay union dues will still be covered by union-negotiated contracts.
Robert Davis, an AFSCME representative, sued the Michigan House in Ingham County Court. Davis is seeking to invalidate the law on several grounds.
First, Davis alleges Michigan violated Michigan’s Open Meetings Act. The Act provides that “all meetings of a public body shall be open to the public and shall be held in a place available to the general public. All persons shall be permitted to attend any meeting except as otherwise provided by this act.”
In his complaint, Davis states that he “and at least one other member of the plaintiff Citizens United were denied entry and access to the State Capitol and to the defendant House’s December 6, 2012 session meeting by the Michigan State Police.”
Further, Davis alleges that no exclusion applies. Pursuant to Michigan’s Open Meetings Act, “A person shall not be excluded from a meeting otherwise open to the public except for a breach of the peace actually committed at the meeting.” Davis claims that he and his group “did not commit any civil disobedience or disturbances of the peace that would warrant plaintiffs being denied entry to defendant House’s December 6, 2012 session meeting.”
Therefore, Davis claims, the vote on the anti-union bill was illegal.