A divided Michigan appeals court has ruled that the state's right-to-work law applies to 35,000 unionized state employees.
The court issued a 2-1 opinion Thursday rejecting a lawsuit filed by labor unions challenging the law that drew thousands of protesters to the state Capitol late last year.
Questions were raised on whether the measure applies to state workers because the Michigan Civil Service Commission, which sets compensation for state employees, has separate powers under the state constitution.
The law prohibits forcing public and private workers in Michigan to pay union dues or fees as a condition of employment.
The majority says lawmakers have the authority to pass laws dealing with union fees. The dissent says that the decision strips the civil service panel of its "regulatory supremacy."