The Michigan State Senate just passed the “right to work” for less bill. The House passed a similar bill earlier today and Gov. Rick Snyder (R) says he will sign the legislation that rolls back workers’ rights.
The measure passed on a 22-16 vote Thursday after hours of impassioned debate. Four Republicans joined all 12 Democrats in opposition.
After months of claiming “right to work” for less was not on his agenda, Snyder changed course this week and began a rapid push to move the bill through the legislature. The Nation’s John Nichols writes that the Michigan action is “part of a bold anti-labor move launched in coordination with a Koch Brothers-funded Americans for Prosperity project to ‘pave the way for right to work in states across our nation’.”
GOP legislative leaders had plotted behind closed doors with Governor Snyder, to have Michigan join the traditionally lower-wage states that decades ago enacted “Right-to-Work” laws to thwart the rise of a labor movement that promoted civil rights, women’s rights and economic justice.
The Michigan State AFL-CIO released the following statement:
....The only ‘freedom’ gained for Michigan workers will be the freedom to make less, the freedom to be disrespected at work, the freedom to struggle to pay their bills and the freedom to be left out of the American dream. This bill is a blatant attempt by the richest in Michigan to silence the voices of working families in our democracy, build their own power, and make the growing gap between the rich and everyone else even bigger.
Should Snyder sign this legislation, he will join a list of other governors – John Kasich, Scott Walker, and others – who have signed over the future of their respective states to big corporations and CEOs, making a decision to leave working families behind. Regardless of what might happen, working people have made it clear they will continue to fight for our vision of a better, stronger Michigan and work to hold elected leaders accountable.
More than 3,000 union members and workers' rights advocates rallied against the legislation and for several hours police shut the doors to the Capitol, keeping protesters out of the House and Senate galleries. Several people were maced as they tried to enter.
A number of Michigan workers, insisting on their right to petition their own elected officials, filed a lawsuit in Ingham County Circuit Court and won an injunction Judge Joyce Draganchuk. Her order specifies that state authorities must stop denying access to “the democratic process” and open the Capitol's doors.
Stay up to date on the Michigan "right to work" for less fight, follow the Michigan State AFL-CIO on Twitter.