Detroit Regional Chamber > Advocacy > Last Week in Lansing: Legislative Updates for the Business Community

Last Week in Lansing: Legislative Updates for the Business Community

March 13, 2023

It was an action-packed week in Lansing, as many high-profile issues were brought before the state Legislature. Among them were key Detroit Regional Chamber- and regional business-relevant issues, like the repeal of “right-to-work” and prevailing wage and expansion of the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act. Here’s what business leaders need to know about the progress.

WHAT: “Right-to-Work” Repeal and Prevailing Wage

STATUS: This legislative package passed the Michigan House and now goes to the Senate for further action. It would repeal the law that prohibits public and private unions from requiring that non-union employees pay union dues even if the union bargains on their behalf, and reinstitute prevailing wage and benefits on any government-funded construction project.

WHY IT MATTERS FOR BUSINESS: If Michigan repeals “right-to-work” and reverses course on prevailing wage, it will weaken its competitive business climate and require more costly and time-consuming incentives to secure business attraction and economic development wins.

It will also amplify the state’s key competitive disadvantage: inconsistency. Seemingly every new governor and legislature enacts a new approach to economic development that sometimes drastically changes what it is like to do business in the state. Michigan needs every advantage it can secure in this race for the future and must uphold its current advantages to which businesses have become accustomed.

THE CHAMBER’S ROLE: The Chamber has been coordinating with the National Right to Work Committee to make the case against repealing “right-to-work”, and the Chamber team has been meeting with legislators and the Governor to express our opposition to the repeal of these legislative acts enacted during the Synder Administration. The Chamber also submitted a letter to the Michigan House Labor Committee in opposition, encouraging members to vote “no” on the legislation to repeal “right-to-work” and reinstitute prevailing wage. MICHauto and the Chamber will continue to advocate for a pro-growth business climate. 

WHAT: Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act (ELCRA) Expansion  

STATUS: Legislation to expand the ELCRA to include protections for sexual orientation and gender identity has passed both the Michigan House and Senate and is headed to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s desk for signature.  

WHY IT MATTERS FOR BUSINESS: Supporting the LGBTQ community is not just a human rights issue. It is an economic issue. As employers compete with other states for the talent, their current and prospective employees demand that they engage in society in new ways. LGBTQ-inclusive and nondiscriminatory workplaces encourage better job dedication, stronger relationships in the workforce, and higher levels of work ethic and job satisfaction.  

THE CHAMBER’S ROLE: The Chamber has long supported the ELCRA and continued advocating for its maintenance and expansion. On the latest issue of expanding it to include protections for sexual orientation and gender identity, the Chamber doubled down on its support with: