House Bill Preempts All Local Involvement In Employer-Employee Relations

Posted on May 19, 2015 by Dene Westbrook

The House Commerce and Trade Committee reported a bill this morning that could have huge implications for all municipalities.  Following last week’s initial hearing on HB 4052, the version of the bill that the committee voted on today focuses on preempting all local involvement in any issue related to the “relationship” that a private employer has with their employees.  Business group testimony on the bill related to national efforts to raise the minimum wage or require employers to offer paid leave time through local ordinance.  While they could provide no evidence that these types of ordinances are being adopted in Michigan, the language they are pushing would preempt any such ordinance from ever being adopted.  In addition to their stated focus, the bill includes language that is so broad in scope that it will impact legitimate government-business interactions within every community in Michigan.

As drafted, we believe that the bill will preclude municipalities from imposing any employment-related condition on a vendor seeking to contract with a city.  This would impact every aspect of negotiations with a city’s contractors and vendors, including safety training requirements or environmental certifications.  The language in the bill would prohibit any city infrastructure/construction contract from including any wage or benefit conditions, including provisions that the contract winner use local labor on the project to keep the public tax dollars in that community.

From an economic development standpoint, municipalities would be barred from including any wage or job-preference conditions as part of their tax abatement or economic development incentive process.  A community would not be able to negotiate any concessions related to employment from business applicants.

There are even concerns that a planning or zoning decision that limits the hours of operation for a business as not conforming to the area it is located in would be prohibited as it could be viewed as infringing on the relationship between an employer and their employees.

The bill was amended by the committee to exempt out non-discrimination ordinances related to employment that a community may have in place, but all other League staff efforts to secure amendments to narrow the scope of the bill were rejected.

With every major business organization supporting this bill, we expect action on the House floor in very short order.  Please contact your State Representative and urge them to vote No on HB 4052.

Chris Hackbarth is the League’s director of state affairs. He can be reached at 517-908-0304and [email protected].

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