Michigan right-to-work legislation draws thousands of union protesters

Republican governor to sign two laws expected to weaken workers’ rights over loud objections of state’s labour supporters.

The Guardian, By Adam Gabatt, December 11

Lansing, MI – About 10,000 protesters marched on the Michigan state capitol on Tuesday, in a show of force by unions fighting the spread of controversial right-to-work legislation in a growing number of US states.

Protesters defied freezing temperatures to demonstrate against union-limiting legislation passed by the Republican-controlled legislature in Lansing.

Union members had begun massing outside the capitol building before dawn, with the numbers swelling into the thousands as buses delivered opponents of the measures from across the state.

Opponents of the legislation say it will lead to lower wages and fewer protections for workers. Supporters say the package of bills will help create jobs.

The latest bill, passed on Tuesday by the Republican-controlled state House of Representative, deals with public-sector workers. Another bill focusing on the private sector was approved last week. The Republican governor of Michigan, Rick Snyder, is expected to sign them into law by Wednesday.

Michigan Legislature gives final approval to right-to-work limiting unions, sends to governor

AP, December 10

Lansing, MI — The Michigan Legislature gave final approval Tuesday to a bitterly contested right-to-work plan limiting the power of unions, a devastating and once unthinkable defeat for organized labor in a state considered a cradle of the movement.

Unswayed by Democrats’ pleas and thousands of protesters inside and outside the state Capitol, the House approved two final bills, sending them on to Republican Gov. Rick Snyder. One dealt with private sector workers, the other with government employees. Both measures cleared the Senate last week.

Snyder is expected to sign the measures into law as early as Wednesday that would make Michigan the 24th state with right-to-work laws, which ban requirements that nonunion employees pay unions for negotiating contracts and other services.

Rochelle Riley: Unions need to remind us about history and why they matter so much

Detroit Free Press, By Rochelle Riley, December 11

The question isn’t: Why did Gov. Rick Snyder say he wouldn’t, and then did support right-to-work legislation?

The question isn’t: Why is a Republican legislature handling an issue exactly the way everyone expected?

No, the question is: How is this possible in Michigan?

Michigan, home of the UAW? Michigan, which has more union members than almost any other state? Michigan, arguably the bluest state in America?

If right-to-work, which some call right-to-choose (Careful, now…) wins here, and Michigan becomes the 24th right-to-work state in America, will it be the domino that causes other states to fall?

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