Michigan right-to-work law creates at least 2 jobs; taxpayers to foot bill

LANSING — The controversial right-to-work law Gov. Rick Snyder signed in December is creating at least two jobs – new state government workers paid for by taxpayers.

Officials are thumbing through 52 applications Monday after Friday’s deadline to apply for a new freedom to work specialist position in the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.

The job will pay $76,000 to $106,000 a year, depending on experience, said Steve Arwood, the department’s acting director.

The new state official will be assisted by one, and possibly two, clerical workers, Arwood told the Detroit Free Press Monday.

“We have to implement a new law, which is really no different than any time we get a new program,” Arwood said. “This is a pretty significant law.”

The officials will be responsible for preparing and distributing workplace notices about the new law, which makes it illegal to require financial support of a union as a condition of employment and takes effect March 27, Arwood said.

“There will be a tremendous amount of employer and employee-related seminars, where someone from the state is expected to come and talk about the law,” Arwood said.

The job posting said the specialist will work in the employment relations bureau and ensure “proper and complete implementation and administration” of the new law.

Applicants are expected to either be lawyers or have experience in legal research.

Creation of the new specialist and clerical positions was criticized by Democrats and a union official representing state employees.

“It’s ridiculous,” said Ray Holman, legislative liaison for UAW Local 6000, the largest state employee union. “I’m looking here every day seeing the people I represent doing the work of two or three people,” in departments such as human services, Holman said.

“For that type of money, you could hire two DHS (Department of Human Services) front-line workers,” who typically make about $44,000 a year, he said.

Holman said he believes existing staff in LARA could do the required work.

There has been considerable debate about what effect right-to-work legislation will have on attracting new employers and jobs and there have been conflicting studies around the nation. Snyder has said he is confident the change will boost employment in Michigan and said the Michigan Economic Development Corp. has noticed an uptick in inquiries from employers considering Michigan as a location.


Posted by Tribune News Services

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