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Federal Judge Grants Preliminary Injunction Halting Election Law Signed by Governor Snyder

Unions challenge PA 269, which violates Contract Clause, First Amendment rights of union members in Michigan elections

LANSING – U.S. District Court Judge Linda V. Parker has issued a preliminary injunction halting the enforcement of Public Act 269, which was signed into law earlier this year by Governor Rick Snyder. A copy of the ruling is available online.

Unions argued the law – which allows payroll deduction for contributions to corporate PACs, while banning payroll deduction for union members’ contributions to their union’s PACs – violates the First Amendment and the Contract Clause, which protects existing collective bargaining agreements.

The Court concluded that the law unconstitutionally favored corporations and discriminated against unions in their political expression.

“In short, PA 269 cannot survive strict scrutiny and thus the Court finds a strong likelihood that Plaintiffs will prevail on their claim that the statute effectuates viewpoint discrimination in violation of the First Amendment,” wrote Judge Parker in yesterday’s ruling. “The Court concludes that Plaintiffs are likely to establish that PA 269 violates the Contract Clause.”

The lawsuit was filed by the Michigan AFL-CIO; International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 58; Utility Workers Union of America, Local 223; George Horuczi, an employee of DTE Energy, and a member and officer of UWUA Local 223; Michigan State Utility Workers Council; and William D. Chadwick, Jr., an employee of Consumers Energy, and a member of UWUA Local 338.

“We’re very pleased with the Court’s ruling in this case,” said Andy Nickelhoff, attorney for the Michigan AFL-CIO. “This is a big win for working people. The judge’s ruling halts the unfair and unequal treatment of union members under PA 269, and protects the constitutional rights of union members to speak up together and participate in our elections.”

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