News Item:
Michigan Right to Work Legislation Defunds Union Collective Bargaining; 10,000 Workers Protest Outside Capital
12/13/2012
MICHIGAN — Michigan Governor Rick Synder (R) has signed a "Right to Work" bill into law which nixes the edict that state employees must pay union fees, a move which effectively slashes workers' collective bargaining leverage and defunds unions with the promise that businesses will attract workers with higher wages. Yet, the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations notes that workers in Right to Work states bring home $1,500 less per year in contrast to those without.

The lame duck Congress suggests that they were pushed into fast–tracking the law due to a union initiative known as Proposal 2, a failed piece of legislation that would have inked collective bargaining rights into the state's constitution.

"I asked labor leaders not to move forward with a ballot proposal because I knew it could trigger a discussion that could lead to right to work being a divisive issue," says Snyder. "Unfortunately they moved forward, it became divisive, and it was time to step up and take a leadership position, which I believe I've done, with good teamwork in the legislature."

The Governor adds, "I have signed these bills into law. … We are moving forward on the topic of workplace fairness and equality."

Michigan is the 24th state to enact Right to Work legislation. Opponents argue that non–union members will now enjoy the benefits provided by such organizations, even though they don't contribute.

Michigan Representative Sander Levin (D) tells MSNBC that "Workers want a voice and…they want to be sure when conditions are set that they're part of the process."

Even President Obama weighed in on the topic, with harsh words for Right to Work proponents.

"These so–called right to work laws, they don't have to do with economics, they have everything to do with politics. What they're really talking about is giving you the right to work for less money."

Outside the state capital in Lansing, over 10,000 citizens protested the signing of the bill into law.

Paladino, James. "Michigan Right to Work Legislation Defunds Union Collective Bargaining; 10,000 Workers Protest Outside Capital". Latinos Post. December 11, 2012. http://www.latinospost.com/articles/8083/20121211/michigan–right–work–legislation–defangs–union–collective.htm