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Posted on Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 12:55 p.m.

Right-to-work lawsuit moving forward: Rebekah Warren commends judge for refusing to dismiss case

By Ryan J. Stanton

A lawsuit against Michigan's new right-to-work law is moving forward after Ingham County Judge William Collette refused to dismiss the case on Wednesday.


Rebekah Warren

"I commend Judge Collette for his decision to move forward with our lawsuit against the manner in which right-to-work was enacted," said state Sen. Rebekah Warren, D-Ann Arbor.

Warren has joined the ACLU and a coalition of labor supporters seeking to invalidate the new law that prohibits requiring the payment of union dues as a condition of employment.

The lawsuit argues the doors to the state Capitol were locked to keep members of the public from entering while the legislation was being debated on Dec. 6. The plaintiffs believe that was in violation of the Open Meetings Act, the First Amendment and the Michigan Constitution.

"The people of Michigan deserve to have their say in the legislative process, and that right was denied them in the passing of right-to-work," Warren said. "The Open Meetings Act was created to ensure transparent and accountable governing, and this violation warrants swift and strong repercussions."

Republican lawmakers have called the lawsuit a desperate act of people unwilling to give workers more freedom, and they've argued the state police — not them — made the call to shut the doors to the Capitol as a matter of safety given the amount of people protesting.

Attorney General Bill Schuette asked the judge to throw out the case, arguing the right-to-work law stipulates that any legal challenges must originate in the Michigan Court of Appeals.

Collette chided Republicans, saying he was amazed state lawmakers would create laws to try to avoid him. He said he didn't have much interest in jurisdictional issues because potential violations of the state's open meetings laws are the main focus of the case.

The state now will have to defend the closing of the Capitol building to the public in court. Warren said citizens have a right to observe and participate in the democratic process.

The lawsuit is being brought on behalf of Warren; Bonnie Bucqueroux, an instructor at Michigan State University's School of Journalism; Steve Cook and Rick Trainor; state Reps. Rashida Tlaib and Brandon Dillon; the Michigan Education Association; Michigan State AFL-CIO; Michigan Building & Construction Trades Council; and Change to Win.

Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for Reach him at or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's email newsletters.



Sat, Apr 6, 2013 : 1:04 p.m.

Milton, This is more like, if I don't want to join the country club, I should not be forced to pay for it. Maybe it is a really bad country club that costs much more to join than it is worth. Maybe the people running the country club quit doing a good job because they didn't think they needed to, since all of the members were forced to join.

Milton Shift

Sat, Apr 6, 2013 : 3:42 a.m.

If workers shouldn't have to pay union dues to work in a union shop, then I shouldn't have to pay anything to join a country club.


Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 10:51 p.m.

Good it isn't a right to work law anyway it is an at will law meaning the company fire you at will and you have no recourse.

L. C. Burgundy

Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 6:55 p.m.

I love to watch the unions waste money on this, because they're going to lose eventually anyway. They've blown how much in Wisconsin on pointless legal and electoral challenges now? Ms. Warren and Judge Collette don't even rate as low level cogs in this little charade.

Alan Goldsmith

Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 1:09 p.m.

Sen. Rebekah Warren, D-Ann Arbor: funny never saw you marching with the U of Michigan nurses a year or so ago when they were fighting for a fair contract. But I'm sure you sent a really nice press release.

Alan Goldsmith

Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 1:07 p.m.

Sen. Rebekah Warren, D-Ann Arbor: always there for Governor Snyder photo ops but oh so wicked with a press release.


Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 12:26 p.m.

How are my civil liberties being protected when I am forced to pay money to a union that does not represent my beliefs? If unions are such a good thing for workers then why do we need to be forced to pay to support them?


Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 12:03 p.m.

Hilarious, if by chance this passes and is overturned, will the unions request to ratify the contracts that were put in place just before March 28th or keep what they have? Looks like whoever has them in place might just want to leave them as is for the duration? I kind of hope they overturn RTF now so the members can see how good unions really are and how much they are really interested in members.


Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 11:56 a.m.

The right to work for less with no benifits.

Nick Danger

Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 11:25 a.m.

Horay for Rebekah! Finally someone in state goverment looking out for working people. Plus, what a great picture of the senator.


Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 12:56 a.m.

Does her stand suprise anyone? She feeds at the public trough and wants to protect her union constituents who also feed there and make large contributions to her party. This si nothing more than a legal money laudering scheme - take dues money and feed the democratic party machine, they get elected then set aside work for union members (roads, bike paths, all public works projects) then the money from the members dues is funneled back into the Democratic party. Works great for the perty but not so good for taxpayers...............but since when do the taxpayers matter in the big scheme of things?

Joe Hood

Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 4:46 a.m.

Metrichead: the point is she spends the time grandstanding but does nothing to build any coalitions that would actually help her constituents. She ran leftist to win the election but now she has to work the system for us, not just herself.


Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 1:17 a.m.

There's nothing unethical about what she's doing. All she's doing is what she said she would when she ran for public office.


Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 12:37 a.m.

Don't be so sure of yourself Sen. Warren and your cadre of left wingers. This lawsuit is going nowhere once the Michigan Appellate Court and Supreme Court have their say and tosses it out.


Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 8:11 p.m.

"labor supporters"? I think you mean "union supporters". Unions officials and their paid politicians are the ones against right to work. Union members have nothing to fear about actually getting a choice in belonging to a union. If the union actually represent workers as opposed to just funneling millions to the democartic party then the workers would be happy to be members.


Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 7:34 p.m.

Ms. Warren, when you lose this case, will you go after President Obama for the way he passed Affordable Health Care?


Mon, Apr 8, 2013 : 8:21 a.m.

Have to have the last word, even when you're wrong? How sad for you. You must lead a lonely, bitter life. Ciao.


Sun, Apr 7, 2013 : 9:43 p.m.

Then your following yourself Sparty, as the story's now on page seven - but I see that ever fast thumb still works. On to your game.


Sun, Apr 7, 2013 : 8:06 p.m.

But, ArborComment .... you managed to find the comment ... page 4 or not. LoL. And, by the way, it wasn't me giving a thumbs up. Apparently there are others who follow the logic of fact that I submit.

Snarf Oscar Boondoggle

Sun, Apr 7, 2013 : 7:48 p.m.

W H A T ????? consistency ???????????? --- col di interes yoju in a bridge in arizona ?


Sat, Apr 6, 2013 : 9:28 p.m.

And Sparty, seeing as how this article is now on PAGE 4, with most folks getting ready for the big game, is it really nescessary to immediately give yourself a "thumbs up"? It would appear obvious to most folks what you think of your own opinion.


Sat, Apr 6, 2013 : 9:20 p.m.

Factually incomplete as opposed to what is commonly called the rest of the story Sparty. In a debate, those that use factually incomplete - tend to Lose. The "McConnel" I referred to is of course McConnell. It appears I have dropped and "L". But don't worry, I found one in you.


Sat, Apr 6, 2013 : 8:10 p.m.

And what was factually incomplete in what I stated ? It seems you are factually incorrect. And WHO is "McConnel" ? They must be some new imaginary person in your alternate version of reality. Slipping indeed.


Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 1:32 p.m.

Sparty, a repeat of the factually incomplete is the best you can do? Slipping. @dsponini. The final senate vote on Obamacare was 60-39. No republican senator voted for it. The final vote tally for health care reform legislation in the House was 219-212, with 34 Democrats joining all Republicans in opposition. The key takeaway for opposition groups is that Speaker Pelosi needed to make a last-day deal with Rep. Bart Stupak and his small group of pro-life Democrats in order to achieve passage. That deal came in the form of an executive order from the White House. If you are referring to a recent Hatch/McConnel vote, that would be HR 933, which is titled: "Department of Defense, Military Construction, and Veterans Affairs, and full Continuing Appropiations Act 2013" - in which Obamacare funding was added. Sometimes, sadly, holding your nose and voting because of one amendment continues to soil the word bi-partisan - kind of like what you did.


Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 12:47 p.m.

Obamacare....debated for months on end. It had bi-partisan support. Even Mitch McConnell and Orin Hatch voted FOR Obamacare!


Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 3:22 a.m.

Yes, Obamacare is majority passed legislation, upheld by federal courts, and then by the SCOTUS. Hardly comparable to allegations of violations of the open meeting act never ruled on by a Court of Law.


Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 12:01 a.m.

Obamacare was passed with a democratic majority, (read RTW in reverse) complete with some really sweet back room deals in the senate on a couple-three fence sitting democratic senators. It was then upheld in the supreme court because it was ruled a tax, something the government argued against, and also what Obama claimed it never was.


Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 9:19 p.m.

Don't confuse them with the facts Sparty. They've got no place in the Tea Party's agenda.


Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 9:14 p.m.

ObamaCare was passed after nearly TWO YEARS of debate in the US Congress and was upheld by the Supreme Court of the United States of America after thorough hearings in Federal District and Appellate Courts across the USA. It was then and remains the Law of the Land !

Superior Twp voter

Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 8:21 p.m.

Bingo-bango! Dead ON!! Comment of the week here.

Tim Hornton

Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 7:27 p.m.

It's good to know the AAlibnews is here to do Rebekah Warren's good liberal pleasure.


Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 6:36 p.m.

Here, 'ya go:


Sat, Apr 6, 2013 : 1:28 p.m.

No, I'm not. And I'm not sure where you construed that. There really isn't any subtlety or innuendo involved in my previous comment.

Usual Suspect

Sat, Apr 6, 2013 : 4:10 a.m.

Oh, I get it, you're making a gay reference. You clever guy! You're so sneaky you got that innuendo past the moderator! What a smartie!


Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 2:14 p.m.

You two post a lot, and you never make comments about the appearance of male politicians. I wonder why that is.* * That's a rhetorical question. I know why that is.

Usual Suspect

Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 1:50 p.m.

Are you really THAT concerned about somebody being THAT concerned about a photo?


Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 12:44 p.m.

Wait....are you guys really THAT concerned over a photo?

Superior Twp voter

Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 3 a.m.

Came to U of M as a Lib, married a Lib, remains a die-hard Lib. What a surprise - she's known nothing else. I had to look it up again. The ACLU. "American Coalition of Leftist Unification" An extension of the DNC and should be declared a P.A.C.

Usual Suspect

Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 12:42 a.m.

I'm smellin' what you're cookin'.


Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 7:33 p.m.

Exactly. Now you're pickin' up what I'm layin' down.

Usual Suspect

Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 7:28 p.m.

Wait... that's the same person?


Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 6:34 p.m.

Time for a more representative picture, Becky. Maybe one where you look angry.


Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 12:43 p.m.

Her name is Rebekkah.


Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 5:25 p.m.

Ultimately, the Right-to-Work (For Less) laws will come down to the interpretation of the Open Meetings Act. The unfortunate issue of this entire mess is that it really shows that the people we've elected are out of touch with the people who they represent. The people don't want the law because of different issues but the bottom line remains the same; the law allows for lower wages and losses of benefits. From a more educated angle using simple economics, less disposible income means a weaker economy. After the struggles of the past four years or so in this state alone, you'd think the government would be against something that will hurt the economy. Goes to show, they only care about the people who are fattening their pockets.


Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 1:15 a.m.

They're not out of touch with the people they represent. Our political class is a good composite of the overall makeup of this state. There is no one, single unifying voice in this state, by the way. In politics, one man's prophet is another man's pariah.


Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 12:59 a.m.

I'm with you, I'd rather see the poor remain on welfare and not work or pay taxes than to have a bunch of low paying jobs mess up my gig..................

Basic Bob

Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 5:19 p.m.

Ingham County Judge Collette knows who funds his election campaigns.

Usual Suspect

Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 5:19 p.m.

Ms. Warren, get out of the way. We're moving Michigan in to the future.


Wed, Apr 24, 2013 : 2:29 p.m.

Heaven forbid we have a governor trying to lift Michigan out of the bottom five states to live,work and play. That honor belong to southern states who are so thankful for right to work and the welcome sign is still out.this state will continue to have a brain drain because of the plantation mentality of your elected official.Every thing in this state cost more than the southern states but as more people of the liberal northeast leave their states because of high taxes they will try their best to endoctrate the drones.


Mon, Apr 8, 2013 : 1:44 p.m.

The future is not the dark ages....sorry to burst your conservabubble


Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 10:54 p.m.

backward future

Nicholas Urfe

Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 2 a.m.

The 1950's is not the future.

Lake Trout

Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 5:09 p.m.

So the State Capital building doors were closed because of the number of people protesting this legislation??? Hmmm, protesting... does anyone else think that when large numbers of citizens protest something, that maybe it is because they don't want it? Hello Governer Snyder! Keep up the good work Ms Warren and Thank you.


Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 10:53 p.m.

You mean making it so the voter can't vote against again by sticking a funding amendment in it?


Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 12:42 p.m.

"hoodlums destroying private property" You are talking about the staged FOX news altercation and Americans for Prosperity....right?

Joe Hood

Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 4:40 a.m.

Oh yeah, those hoodlums destroying private property on the capital grounds. They weren't protesting, they were vandalizing. Too bad we have to lock the doors to democracy because of unkempt crazies.

Angry Moderate

Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 6:55 p.m.

This is a democracy. You have to get a majority of people to vote for you, not just a minority to form a mob in Lansing.

Joe Hood

Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 5:05 p.m.

Does our senator not know how to do anything but try to obstruct progress?


Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 10:52 p.m.

you mean like trying to repealing the affordable care act 39 times!

Great Lakes Lady

Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 5:07 p.m.

Arborcomment: 21,000 pages of regulations translates as, the government is picking winners and losers.


Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 4:29 p.m.

Peter, a thumbs up to you - my mistake. It is difficult to keep track of congressional committee shenanigans. As the Hill article points out, this was for a different committee. I'm still looking for the Pelosi quote on the virtual lockout of congressional republican contributions to the health care plan as the result of the democratic sweep of 2008.


Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 2:01 p.m.

"Sparty has chosen to forget the part about changing the locks on the house health subcommittee panel room - locking out minority members during the "crafting" of Obamacare" This never happened. It's a complete fabrication.


Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 12:41 p.m.

Obstruct progress? Sorry, Rebekkah is not part of the tea party


Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 12:23 p.m.

The whole way that law was passed is anything but progress.


Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 1:41 a.m.

League, as a republican governor in an extremely democratic state, kudos to him for getting it done. Most of America will be WISHING it was the Mass. Plan that was cloned. We are now up to 21,000 pages of regulations, a 61 page form to join exchanges that are yet to be built, and recently announced as being delayed another year


Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 1:21 a.m.

Arborcomment, you must know that Obamacare was modeled after Mitt Romneys Massachusetts health care initiative? I guess Mitt is a Democrat?


Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 10:31 p.m.

Sparty has chosen to forget the part about changing the locks on the house health subcommittee panel room - locking out minority members during the "crafting" of Obamacare. He also missed some more recent history where the senate democratic majority finally presented a budget... After three plus years of nothing, which finally allowed that process and vote via reconciliation (not subject to filibuster rules).


Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 9:08 p.m.

I thought it was the role of REPUBLICANS to obstruct progress ? Is that not they have been doing in the US House of Representatives since 2010? And also in the Senate with a historic number of filibusters ?


Thu, Apr 4, 2013 : 8:28 p.m.

Our state senator knows how to hold the majority party accountable for their illegal actions. Yes, even our lawmakers must follow the law.