Anti-Merit Shop Proposal Allowed On Michigan Ballots By State Supreme Court

The Michigan Supreme Court Sept. 5 ordered a proposal be placed on the statewide ballot that would negatively impact the merit shop construction workforce by nullifying the ban on government-mandated project labor agreements (PLAs) and preventing Michigan from becoming a right-to-work state, among other changes.

“This is probably the most anti-merit shop proposal that any state has ever seen,” said ABC of Michigan President Chris Fisher. “Michigan’s constitution is the framework for how the state government should function; it is not a place to institutionalize special-interest handouts to union bosses at the expense of the taxpayers. If adopted, this initiative would claw back the critical reforms that have helped pull Michigan out of the economic crisis that really started in 2001 for our state.

“It also threatens to set a precedent for other states to follow suit by providing a pathway to permanently repeal key labor reforms, including open competition laws,” Fisher said. “ABC has no choice but to fight harder than we ever have because the stakes are higher than they have ever been.”

In addition to retracting the Michigan Fair and Open Competition in Governmental Construction Act, the Union Boss Ballot proposal also would:

  • make prevailing wage elimination impossible;
  • eliminate requirements that government retirees contribute to their health care and pensions;
  • repeal Michigan’s paycheck protection law;eliminate 17 sections of the state constitution that unions dislike;
  • and eliminate at least 170 state laws  

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette also spoke out against the proposal in a memo sent to the Gov. Rick Snyder and the Michigan Board of Canvassers. Schuette pointed out that the proposal would nullify at least 170 state laws without following proper channels.

“In attempting to circumvent the proper process to invalidate each of the many provision and Acts the proposal abrogates, the proposal’s organizers have created a facially unconstitutional petition,” Schuette wrote.

The proposal will be voted on in November.

For more information on PLAs, visit,, or