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LABOR News

November 30, 2012
Right-To-Work Battle Heats Up in Michigan

A November 6th defeat by Michigan voters of three pro-labor ballot initiatives seems to have energized the GOP in that state.  Michigan Republicans are expected to introduce a right-to-work bill during the lame duck session.  Hundreds of Michigan union members showed up at the state capital in Lansing on Thursday in protest. 

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) maintains that pushing right-to-work is not part of his agenda, but there are rumblings he would sign such a bill into law if it were presented to him. This uncertainly has prompted union members to launch a full-on social media campaign in opposition to such legislation plus a petition drive which already has more than 15,000 on-line signatures.

If Republicans were to succeed here, Michigan would become the 24th state in the nation with right-to-work laws on the books. Indiana, the last state to pass right-to-work legislation, was the first rust belt state to do so.  Should Michigan follow suit opponents say it would reduce the wages and benefits of union workers already earned through collective bargaining.

“Every working person in Michigan should be concerned about the contents of this 'right-to-work' bill and question how quickly it is moving,” said Rick Meeth, a teacher from Bay City. “Whether you are a union member or not, employees in 'right-to-work' states average $1,500 less in wages per year and are less likely to have access to benefits through their job.”