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Protesters line the Michigan capitol rotunda as Republicans push an anti-union bill.
Michigan Republicans keep speeding toward passage of anti-union laws during the lame duck session:
[B]y late Thursday, the House had passed one of the three bills in a 58-52 vote and the Senate had passed two others—one for private-sector workers and one for public-sector workers—by votes of 22-16 and 22-4, respectively. [...]

The bill that passed the House includes a $1-million appropriation. By making it an appropriations bill, the Republicans made it ineligible for repeal through a ballot initiative.

Gov. Rick Snyder, who had repeatedly said he did not want a so-called "right to work" law, is firmly behind this push, which comes just a month after an election in which Michigan Republicans did not campaign on the issue. The legislature is expected to return to the bills on Tuesday.

"Right to work" laws allow people in union workplaces to reap the benefits of the union, such as grievance representation and improved wages and benefits negotiated by the union, without paying even a fee covering the direct costs of their representation. Instead, they get to freeload on their union coworkers. Giving people the benefits of membership without payment of fees is not, needless to say, a practice followed by the business associations like the Chamber of Commerce that often push freeloader laws on unions. But writing such a requirement into law for workers is part of the general right-wing agenda of imposing ever-bigger burdens on the ability of workers to join together and build power.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 07:37 PM PST.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions, Michigan, My Michigan, and ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Can this be challenged in the Courts? (4+ / 0-)

    Will the Republicans have control over the legislature in the new Session starting in January? And also, what have the auto companies said about this? Are they behind the push as well?

    Also, do you think that a blowback might be that the Unions will actually grow by encouraging more people to join the Unions to fight back?

  •  Mmm... (9+ / 0-)

    Well they killed GSRA's ability to unionize by declaring us not public employees (UMich).

    So the GEO represents the teaching assistants, who also happen to do research... but any benefit that is negotiated by them for the TAs also get passed onto the GSRA's where they apply. For instance, cost-of-living adjustments every year for our stipend.

    I do hear professors grumbling about union this union that because it's so confusing as to how much grading and other TA responsibilities you're supposed to dish out to the poor grad student. What the union did was standardize it so that the grad students didn't have to pray for a professor who wasn't a meanie... like force all teaching/grading responsibilities on the TAs.

    Why hello there reality, how are you doing?

    by Future Gazer on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 12:02:38 PM PST

  •  Freeloading (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sylv

    If the Unions are so concerned with freeloading why are they not lobbying the US Congress to overturn the labor laws that require unions to represent the freeloaders?

  •  I am so stunned by this that all I can think is (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dirtandiron, ShoshannaD, Sylv

    OMG! OMG! OMG!

    I have no clue how to block the ALEC/Republican onslaught we continue to witness in our nation.  I'm counting on all of you politically savvy folks out there to talk me down and tell me why there's hope.........

    As of this morning November 7, 2012 the Includers are ascendant, and the Excluders are in the minority. [samsoneyes]

    by FlamingoGrrl on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 12:17:23 PM PST

    •  One place to start (8+ / 0-)

      Organize.

      Now, it may seem a bit too glib to say that, but what I mean is that it begins with people deciding to be more engaged and then doing it. Just educating oneself is a big first step. Then begin reaching out to others.

      It takes a while, but playing the long game eventually works. There will be battles lost, but also battles won. Think about it: in some places in our country, people were killed for trying to unionize. If we could overcome that, we can overcome this.

      Procrastination: Hard work often pays off after time, but laziness always pays off now.

      by Linnaeus on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 12:23:07 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I wonder what can be done... (6+ / 0-)

    ...to repeal not just the Michigan "right to work for less" law, but those of the other states. I sure hope President Obama calls for the repeal of (I think it's) Section 14B of Taft-Hartley, which allows states to pass these odious laws. Right to work is not right to work. It's the right to cripple workers and their rights, and it must not only be thrown out, but those who enact and defend these laws must be themselves thrown out of office post-haste.

    "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win." --Gandhi

    by alaprst on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 01:27:43 PM PST

    •  asdf (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DuzT, peregrine kate

      There shouldn't be any "right-to-work" states. Everyone already has a right to work, and the other provisions of Taft-Hartley already ban closed shops nationwide, in which only existing union members can get jobs. That imagined beast doesn't actually exist anywhere in the country.

      "RTW" is the "right" to not pay a fair share to the union which negotiated your wages. It is advertised to workers as a measure to protect some right they already have anyway, or as a way to save them money (until their union is decertified and they never get a raise again), but it's advertised to employers as a way to make union organizing harder. Only the last one seems to be true. States pass these laws in a race to the bottom; it's time the feds make it consistent everywhere, and just ban "RTW".

    •  alaprst - the time to do that was in the first (0+ / 0-)

      two years of the Obama administration. As long as the GOP holds the majority of the House a repeal of Sec 14B will be blocked. To repeal something as big as 14B the Dems are going to have to have a trifecta in place, a majority of the House, a filibuster proof majority in the Senate and the White House, just to give it a chance.

      "let's talk about that"

      by VClib on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 09:07:53 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Rally against RTW in Lansing next Tuesday (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DuzT, sydneyluv, Bruce Brown

    Please pass it along.  Thx/sh

    https://www.facebook.com/...

    •  All I get is "Must log in to view page", (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      VClib

      which is kinda like "Right To See" :/

      The Tea Party isn't a movement - it's an excuse.

      by here4tehbeer on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 08:38:04 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Sorry, I checked the link and it was okay. (0+ / 0-)

        Thinking you must need to have a FB account to look at it.  At least that is the first step when I go to FB.  Just didn't think of it.

        Below is the info:

        Michigan's far-right legislature slipped through Right to Work legislation without any debate. Without any input. And Michigan workers are under attack. It's time to step up. There will be a Rally at the Capitol on Tuesday, December 11th, at 8:30 am. Meet up is at the Lansing Center (320 E. Michigan) with a march to the Capitol.

        If you have any questions, feel free to contact the organizer for this event:

        Dan Fingas
        Michigan Laborers
        (313 )354-4035
        dfingas@liunagroc.com

        •  And in case you know anyone in the Detroit (0+ / 0-)

          Rally Monday December 10 at 7:00 pm to protest RTW laws at Bethany Baptist Church 15122 W. Chicago Blvd., Detroit. Free bus ride to protest RTW in Lansing on Tuesday. Please go to Rainbow Push Detroit FB page for details.

          Again this refers to a FB page, but for those without a FB page, please contact DaVonne Darby at dadarby@rainbowpushdetroit.org for more information.

          Thanks for pointing out the problem.  

        •  Thanks :) I'm just Facebook averse when it comes (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ShoshannaD

          to certain things. Well, most things for that matter.

          Appreciate the info (and the effort!)

          The Tea Party isn't a movement - it's an excuse.

          by here4tehbeer on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 07:36:49 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  This is not completely true: (8+ / 0-)
    By making it an appropriations bill, the Republicans made it ineligible for repeal through a ballot initiative.
    Under Article II, section 9 of the Michigan Constitution, it is ineligible for a veto referendum. It can still be amended or repealed by an initiated statute, which requires 8% of the number of gubernatorial voters' signatures (instead of 5%) and an affirmative rather than negative popular vote. In exchange, the resulting statute cannot be repealed or amended again by the legislature without a 3/4 majority. It's like an amendment in all but name, and it's probably the best way forward.
  •  Use this argument: The Union is a corporation-- (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DuzT, ranton

    in the truest sense of the word--that provides a service:  Representation, Bargaining, and what not.  And charges a fee for that service.  

    Therefore, if you want that service, you have to pay for it.

    QED

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 07:55:55 PM PST

    •  If a union is a corporation, and a corporation is (0+ / 0-)

      a person, how can they make a law limiting one person's civil rights like this? (snark)

      Just saying. Sorry.

      Liberal (from Webster's Dictionary): tolerant of views differing from one's own; broad-minded

      by 50sbaby on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 09:29:34 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  ALEC's agenda is to get rid of ALL unions (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cordgrass, dickensgirl

    ... public OR private, to allow corporations to drive wages and benefits down to Bangladesh level.

  •  Meh. (0+ / 0-)

    I was born and grew up in Michigan.  150 years of my family---both sides---lived there.  GM people.  Michiganders elected a Republican House, a Republican Senate and a Republican to serve as their governor.  This is what they get.  Everyone in Michigan gets minimum wage.  The government you elect is the government you deserve.

    •  FFS. It wasn't a 100%-0% election! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sydneyluv

      Should we be holding all of Illinois responsible for electing Blagojevich? Or just the Democrats? If it's clearer, were we all responsible for GWB?
      We all had to suffer during GWB's administrations, and we all had a duty to work against him, IMHO. But we weren't all deserving of what he set in motion against us.

      Some DKos series & groups worth your while: Black Kos, Native American Netroots, KosAbility, Monday Night Cancer Club. If you'd like to join the Motor City Kossacks, send me a Kosmail.

      by peregrine kate on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 09:48:23 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, we deserved G.W. Bush. (0+ / 0-)

        I don't understand your jab about Blagojevich.  What were the consequence?  Was he trying to sell the state to China, or to bust unions?  Nope; he was just trying to make a couple bucks for himself.  Not a good comparison.

        So we go back to G.W. Bush.  In 2000 the median voter was convinced that there was no substantial difference between Al Gore and G.W. Bush.  Seriously.  An environmentalist's environmentalist versus an oil guy---no difference.  After September 11, the guy's approval rating shot up to 90%.  America loved the guy.  The Iraq war?  The people loved it; 80%+ approval when it started.  We deserve the fall-out.  I do not agree with what the people decide all the time.  But I will not feign to save the people from themselves.  

        The people deserve the government they elect.  I stand by my comment above.

        •  I hope and surmise you are in the minority (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          chuckvw

          here, but everyone has the right to be wrong.

          Some DKos series & groups worth your while: Black Kos, Native American Netroots, KosAbility, Monday Night Cancer Club. If you'd like to join the Motor City Kossacks, send me a Kosmail.

          by peregrine kate on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 10:26:43 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Please understand... (0+ / 0-)

            I think "right to work" legislation is, objectively. horrible.  But I think this was an injury the people of the Great State of Michigan did to themselves.  I do what I can to help get Democrats get elected, but when the people decide otherwise, there's nothing I can do.  Yesterday, I thought of my great-grandfather, who died while I was in law school---a lifer on the line at Oldsmobile in Lansing---he would never have stood for this.  The same people who engaged in sit-down strikes in Flint rose up in 2010 and elected a Republican government across the board.  It is their fault.  But it is also an injury the people of that state have the power to repeal, if they collectively decide to do so.  

          •  How do I put this... (0+ / 0-)

            in a way that registers with as many people as it can possibly register with?

            We have a representative democracy.  It works very well.  It is durable; based on the age of our constitution, while we're in the New World, we're one of the oldest countries on earth.  Here, the people directly elect their representatives, who in turn vote on specific bills in accordance with their personal leanings.  In 2010, the people of Michigan voted for a Republican House, a Republican Senate and a Republican governor.  If the people of Michigan felt that strongly about their collective bargaining rights, they would have voted for at least one branch of their government to represent that interest.  But they didn't.  I do what I can to get Democrats elected.  But I can't save the people from themselves if they make a bad choice.  And in 2010, the people of Michigan voted for themselves a Republican government across the board.  Whatever vaginal probe, right-to-work, school prayer bullshit gets enacted, the people of that state deserve it.  

            •  Surely you've heard of bait and switch? (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              dickensgirl

              It's what Scott Walker did in my Wisconsin.

              I dreamed I saw Joe Hill last night, alive as you and me.

              by plankbob on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 02:36:29 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  exactly (0+ / 0-)

                All we heard here was jobs, jobs, jobs and vague boilerplate about 'fiscal responsibility'. As my husband's a teacher, we were getting warnings that Walker would be bad for education, but I don't think anyone knew HOW bad... So a majority of Wisconsinites did vote him in, granted, and I understand basic democracy, but tell me again why we "deserve" him??? And his life-changing, career-ending "budget repair"bill???
                Maybe everything of any widespread import should be put to referendum, period.

  •  Governor Synder lied his way into office. (0+ / 0-)

    He represented himself as a very moderate republican.  Fool me once, shame.......... .  We will learn.

    One important thing to learn we can learn from the republicans: long term political planning and activity.  For at least the last 30 years the republicans have been politically active at the local levels, slowly moving towards greater and greater influence in a traditionally democratic state.  What they have been so successful at is re-districting so that they are very over-represented in our state house and senate.  Remember that both of our senators are progressive democrats.

    I do ask myself what our Democratic Party and our labor unions were doing all these years while the republicans were amassing power?  I'm sure there are complex answers to this question but I do wonder.  It does occur to me that the progressive non union community maybe became over reliant on the union activisim. Anyway I was one of the sleeping citizens, just trying to keep a roof over my head and hoping someone else would protect my interests.

    Now what?  I will be going to the rally next Tuesday and will work on a citizens action to modify this law as discussed above. More than anything though I have to remember that my one little self matters.

    The 'shift' is hitting the fan.

    by sydneyluv on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 06:14:18 AM PST

  •  Please help! (0+ / 0-)

    Michigan's so-called "Freedom to Choose" bill is not a law yet, but Governor Snyder could sign it as early as Tuesday, and he has said he will.

    Please, if you live in Michigan, email Rick.Snyder@Michigan.Gov and tell him he was right three months ago when he said he would not favor a "right to work" law because "it would be divisive." Tell him he was right. Tell him it would also kill Michigan's economic recovery. Tell him to reconsider his promise to sign it. Tell him to veto it.

    Here's a link to a page where Snyder asks for feedback.

    How do I go about talking Daily Kos into sending Snyder a petition? Is there a petition already? Where do I sign?

    Thomas Paine: When my country...was set on fire about my ears, it was time to stir. It was time for every man to stir.

    by Bruce Brown on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 06:54:42 AM PST

  •  Copy of the bill? (0+ / 0-)

    I would like a copy of the bill. I can't find it on the MI legislation webpage.

    Thanks.

  •  Protest rallies in Lansing and Detroit this week (0+ / 0-)

    Tuesday, December 11, 2012. 9:00am until 3:00pm in EST.. Michigan's far-right legislature slipped through Right to Work legislation without any debate. Without any input. And Michigan workers are under attack. It's time to step up. There will be a Rally at the Capitol on Tuesday, December 11th, at 8:30 am. Meet up is at the Lansing Center (320 E. Michigan) with a march to the Capitol.

    If you have any questions, feel free to contact the organizer for this event:

    Dan Fingas
    Michigan Laborers
    (313 )354-4035
    dfingas@liunagroc.com

    And if you are in the DETROIT area:

    Rally Monday December 10 at 7:00 pm to protest RTW laws at Bethany Baptist Church 15122 W. Chicago Blvd., Detroit. Free bus ride to protest RTW in Lansing on Tuesday. Please go to Rainbow Push Detroit FB page for details. Information is in the press release from Alexander Bullock.  If you do not use FB,  contact person is DaVonne Darby, dadarby@rainbowpushdetroit.org

    https://www.facebook.com/...

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