Michigan a Right-to-Work State? Now It Is.
Who would have ever thought that the union stronghold of Michigan would ever become a right-to-work state? Yet that’s exactly what happened today, when the Michigan legislature passed two anti-union measures, over the protests of tens of thousands of people outside the state capitol. The two bills will affect public and private sector employees.
Republican Governor Rob Snyder pushed the bill, which he claimed would make the state more attractive to businesses and bring more jobs to the area. Twenty-three other states have similar laws on the books. Last year, Wisconsin passed a similar law banning collective bargaining for teachers, which was later overturned. But the Michigan law is considered even more of a blow to workers.
And in case you’re wondering, the term right-to-work may be somewhat confusing. What right-to-work laws actually do is prohibit unions from creating “closed shops”—or negotiating with companies to create workplaces in which employees are required to join a union. These closed shops prevent so-called free riders, or employees who benefit from the working conditions and wages negotiated by the labor group, without paying dues.
On Twitter, Michigan, Right to Work and #RTW were all trending, with tweets from the left lamenting today's vote:
5 things to know about Michigan's anti-union legislation huff.to/X5Nfjb— HuffPost Politics (@HuffPostPol) December 11, 2012
Michigan passes Right to Work Bill in Michigan? must be a prank?— janis james (@winerer) December 11, 2012
Praying for all the workers in #Michigan today who r fighting for their rights, dignity & respect. Things that r already theirs.— Linda Sarsour (@lsarsour) December 11, 2012
Tweets from the right tended celebrate the law as allowing workers to choose whether or not to join a labor union, while emphasizing teachers who left school to protest at the capitol and threats of violence:
Michigan unions protest right to work law. If unions are so good for workers why are unions unwilling to earn the membership? Choice?— Mark Young (@Mark_JekyllHyde) December 11, 2012
Teachers Bail on Michigan Kids Who Can't Read at Their Grade Level townhall.com/tipsheet/Katie…— Matt Dawson (@SaintRPh) December 11, 2012
Right to Work prohibits requiring the payment of union dues as a condition of employment. OH NOES. #righttowork— Emily Zanotti (@emzanotti) December 11, 2012
Governor Snyder is expected to sign the right-to-work measure, which legal analysts say will be hard to overturn.
Are you or someone in your family a member of union? What do you think of right-to-work?