Written by Matt Murray of the NH Labor News
Have you been reading about what has been happening in Michigan?
Well just in case you have been unplugged from any social media for the last day let me explain. A few days ago reports started to surface that the Republican led Legislature in Michigan were going to use their own 'lame duck' session to push a Right To Work for less bill. Turns out the reports were all true.
The legislature and Governor Snyder knew there would be huge protests if they pushed Right To Work in Michigan. Amid huge protests RTW was unveiled in the MI House. The Detroit Free Press reported
“The goal isn’t to divide Michigan. It is to bring Michigan together,” the governor said, as hundreds of union protesters stormed the Capitol and the governor’s office, vociferously voicing their opposition to the plan."We all know this is a crock. The goal of right to work is to lower wages and make it easier for companies to break labor unions down.
The day was moved on like a live action horror movie, directed by Americans for Prosperity and ALEC. Even the Koch Brothers could not keep their hands out of this. The Koch funded group American For Prosperity, had members lined up in front of the State House in Lansing.
“Michigan passage of right-to-work legislation will be the shot heard around the world for workplace freedom," AFP said in a press release Thursday.Even though Right To Work has nothing to do with 'freedom'.
“In the wake of this legislation, 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.Democratic lawmakers walk out in protest
Protesters filled the capitol in Lansing and began chanting. Watch the video from the UAW. At one point they were told to leave the capitol building and the police began using pepper spray on protesters. The protests outside became even louder as people began chanting 'Let us in' (VIDEO). However in a strong move by Democrats in the Michigan Legislature, they walked out. They would not return until the people of Michigan would be allowed to return.
It would not take long for the MI House to pass the RTW bill.
As all of this was happening, President Obama issued a statement on the proposed RTW bill in Michigan.
"President Obama has long opposed so-called ‘right to work’ laws and he continues to oppose them now," said White House spokesperson Matt Lehrich. "The President believes our economy is stronger when workers get good wages and good benefits, and he opposes attempts to roll back their rights. Michigan – and its workers' role in the revival of the US automobile industry – is a prime example of how unions have helped build a strong middle class and a strong American economy."Even the Presidents strong words would have no effect on the GOP assault on Michigan working families. The Michigan Senate began pushing their version of the MI Right To Work for less bill. Of course it passed 22-16. The only catch is that due to legislative laws in Michigan a bill has sit for five days before it can be moved from the Senate to the House. Then all legislators would have to do is combine the two different bills and send it to the Governor.
This is a sad day for Michigan and the hard working people who live there. Working Michigan, a broad coalition of faith, labor and community organizations released a statement (full below).
“The legislation passed tonight is nothing short of an attack on the middle class in Michigan by Republican leadership and their corporate CEO funders. This is a divisive law that will hurt our state by driving wages down and pitting workers against each other."After the 'auto bailout' and the revival of the big three in Michigan lawmakers chose to repay these workers with a giant slap in the face. Their unity and dedication help revive Michigan and helped preserve over one million jobs. The only hope Michigan has now is that over the next five days the Governor comes to his senses and veto's this bill. Though it is not very likely.
Michigan Republicans vote to unravel the state’s middle class, flatten wages and crush workers’ rights
“The legislation passed tonight is nothing short of an attack on the middle class in Michigan by Republican leadership and their corporate CEO funders. This is a divisive law that will hurt our state by driving wages down and pitting workers against each other.
“Study after study has demonstrated the devastating effects of this sort of legislation: Workers in ‘right-to-work’ states make $1,500 less per year, meanwhile the growth rate for ‘right-to-work’ states actually drops after legislation of this sort is enacted. Dressing the legislation up with benign sounding phrases like ‘workplace freedom,’ Michiganders understand what’s at stake here and will hold them accountable.
“In the wake of this legislation, 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.”