Working Families: ‘Right-to-Work is Wrong for Michigan’
December 6, 2012
On Dec. 6, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder stunned working families by announcing his support for right-to-work legislation, pushing the lame-duck legislature to jam through a bill by the end of the year.
After the November election, right-wing politicians and big money anti-worker lobbyists stepped up their efforts to pass right-to-work legislation in Michigan,
On Nov. 30 conservative lobbyist Grover Norquist – best known for getting lawmakers to take a pledge not to raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans – joined the fight, sending legislators a letter telling them that passing right-to-work was “one of the most important steps you can take.”
In response, working families are calling on Lansing legislators not to support what they say is divisive and anti-worker legislation.
Says Sixth District International Representative John Briston, who serves as the IBEW’s political grassroots coordinator for the state:
Activists at the state capitol were locked out after Snyder made his announcement, with protestors forcibly removed from the building. Some were peppered sprayed.
Right-to-work supporters claim it will help the Michigan economy, but for workers – union and nonunion – right-to-work laws have been shown to be bad news.
Bureau of Labor Statistics show that workers in right-to-work states make $5,333 less than those in free bargaining states, while the number of those without health insurance is 20 percent higher in right-to-work states.
And a University of Oregon study found that Oklahoma, which adopted right-to-work in 2001, has seen the number of companies moving to the state drop by a third over the last decade; and unemployment there is higher than average.
Study author Gordon Lafer told the Detroit News:
Briston says IBEW members are working with other local activists to raise awareness about the negative impact of right-to-work, making phone calls and writing letters to state legislators.
He says the worst part about Snyder’s move is that he and many other Michigan Republicans said they opposed right-to-work legislation as recently as a few months ago.
But under pressure from far-right elements in the party, both men reversed themselves.
The Michigan GOP inserted language into the legislation making it impossible to overturn the bill in a public referendum.
Also under attack is Michigan’s prevailing wage law. Introduced last year, a bill in the state legislature would eliminate the state’s prevailing wage, which requires public projects to pay construction workers a comparable wage as other workers in the area.
Follow the Protect Working Families Facebook page has more information on the fight to stop right-to-work.
And click here to tell lawmakers that right-to-work is wrong for Michigan.
Update: The bill is moving fast through the state Senate today. Call your Michigan House representative to say you oppose the "right to work" for less bill:888-979-7280.