Data measure passes Michigan Senate 2023

Under a bill that passed the Michigan Senate on Thursday, public employers would be required to share employee contact information with unions.

This would include a worker’s complete name, non-classified home address, personal email address, and phone number.

Senator John Cherry (D-Flint) stated that unions require this information to serve everyone in the workplace.

“Ultimately, when a union… does not know about and cannot contact an employee they are supposed to represent, the employee is harmed,” Senator Cherry stated on the Senate floor.

Before the vote, Republicans unsuccessfully proposed several amendments to modify the measure and allow employees to opt out of data sharing.

Senator Thomas Albert (R-Lowell) stated that the legislation could be abused.

Albert stated, “It goes beyond assisting legitimate communication between a union and the employees it represents and becomes an unwarranted invasion of privacy and a potential misuse of information.”

In response to the criticism from the audience, Cherry defended the necessity of providing unions with personal contact information.

He stated that employees are prohibited from communicating with their union representatives while on the job.

“Therefore, if they cannot use their work email or work phone to communicate with their union representative, this must be done outside of work hours, which usually means at home,” Cherry explained.

He later emphasized to reporters that sharing contact information with public unions is already state policy under the administration of Governor Gretchen Whitmer. The bill would extend this to all unionized public employees.

The measure imposes no restrictions on the use of the information, stating only that employees must be informed when their information is shared.

Cherry acknowledged that this opens the door for unions to utilize the collected information for political purposes.

It was deemed a poor bill by Republican Minority Leader Aric Nesbitt (R-Porter Twp).

“Why should they be required to update a person’s address and cell phone number every three months?” Nesbitt told reporters, “Especially considering the challenges that exist in the present day.” “There are individuals who have experienced difficult divorces and domestic violence. There are numerous issues in the world.”

The Senate passed the law along party lines. The bill is now in the House of Representatives.

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