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Originally published Wednesday, December 12, 2012 at 4:33 AM

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Right-to-work law gives Michigan unions new task

Now that Michigan has become a right-to-work state, unions in this stronghold of organized labor are confronting a new and urgent problem: convincing members to continue paying for their services instead of taking them for free.

Associated Press

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Lansing, Mich. —

Now that Michigan has become a right-to-work state, unions in this stronghold of organized labor are confronting a new and urgent problem: convincing members to continue paying for their services instead of taking them for free.

The new right-to-work law approved this week makes it illegal to require nonunion workers to pay fees to unions for negotiating wage contracts and other services.

The law takes effect 90 days after the Legislature adjourns this month, giving unions little time to devise a strategy for keeping members on board and convincing nonmembers to continue their financial support.

Union leaders said it was too soon to predict how the law would affect them. Workers covered by existing labor contracts won't be able to stop paying union fees until those deals lapse.

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