Appeals Court Rules 3% Retiree Health Care Contribution Unconstitutional

On Friday, August 26th the Michigan Court of Appeals concurred with a decision by the Court of Claims that the three percent retiree health care contribution the Legislature asked of state workers contravened the power of the Civil Service Commission and is therefore unconstitutional.

SEIU, AFSCME, MSEA, and the UAW filed lawsuits that call into question the decision by the Michigan Legislature to enact a three percent contribution in the face of collective bargaining agreements that provided the workers with a three percent wage increase.

SEIU Local 517M President William Ruhf stated “We were well affirmed and Governor and Legislature was taken to task.  If the Michigan Supreme Court follows the strict interpretation as they like to say, then we will win again.  If not, then the Supreme Court will just be seen as a politics as usual body.”

The decision made by Court of Appeals Judges Hood, Beckering, and Stephens determined that the Civil Service Commission (CSC) has the authority in the state’s constitution to determine state employee pay and provides for a legislative override of their findings.

The Court sided with the Unions argument that the Legislature failed in obtaining the two-thirds vote to reject a negotiated three percent wage increase, therefore it enacted the three percent retiree health contribution in order to balance the budget.

“When a statute contravenes the provisions of the Michigan Constitution it is unconstitutional and therefore void,” wrote the court.

The parties have already been notified that the State intends to appeal this decision to the Michigan Supreme Court.

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