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Governor Rick Snyder (R. MI) signed his union-busting "Right To Work" legislation that passed both the Michigan House and Senate.  Not one Democrat voted for the bill and a small number of Republicans broke ranks with their party.  Earlier today, Senator Carl Levin (D. MI) made one last attempt to persuade Snyder to not sign the bill.  Here's Levin's statement:

“I have previously criticized Gov. Snyder for his sudden, last-minute change of position on so-called ‘right to work’ legislation. His switch directly contradicts his promise to avoid divisive issues and his promise to bring Michiganians together. That reversal was bad enough. Now, he is misleading Michigan voters when he says these bills are designed to protect workers from being required to join a union, or that they ‘give workers freedom to choose who they associate with.’ They already have those protections in current law, and after our meeting yesterday, Gov. Snyder full well knows it.

For millions of Michigan workers, this is no ordinary debate. It’s an assault on their right to have their elected bargaining agent negotiate their pay, benefits and working conditions, and to have all who benefit from such negotiations share in some way in the cost of obtaining them.

The governor’s reversal and his misleading language aren’t about workers. It’s about politics. It is deeply unfortunate that the governor and other Republicans in Lansing have put politics ahead of the collective bargaining rights of Michigan workers.” - Upper Michigan Source, 12/11/12

Levin stated that the "right to work" legislation will become Snyder's legacy:

“The governor will divide Michigan" if he signs the bill, Levin said. "That will be his legacy and that is a frightful legacy not only for him but the people of the state of Michigan and the middle class." - The Hill, 12/11/11

Levin had this to say after Snyder signed the bill:

In this photo provided by ABC News, Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin, D–Mich., appears for an interview with George Stephanopolous on ABC's This Week, in Washington, Sunday, April 8, 2007. (AP Photo/ABC News, Lauren Victoria Burke) @@*@@*MANDATORY CREDIT LAUREN VICTORIA BURKE ABC NEWS NO SALES NO ARCHIVE@@*@@*
“For millions of Michigan workers, this is no ordinary debate,” Levin said after the House vote. “It’s an assault on their right to have their elected bargaining agent negotiate their pay, benefits and working conditions, and to have all who benefit from such negotiations share in some way in the cost of obtaining them.” - Washington Post, 12/11/11
Supporters of the "right to work" bill claim the legislation will give the workers the "freedom to choose" whether or not to be in a union and will help boost Michigan's economy.  Levin shot those claims down:
"The governor misstates what this is all about. It's not about having to be a union member," Levin said. "It's if a majority select a union representative, everybody has to benefit equally so everybody should pay a fair share of that representation. They don't pay for political activities. None of that."
Levin said Snyder "doesn't understand what made Michigan the ideal place" for the middle class.
"Employers say, 'Look, let's have a relationship with workers and have them have a voice in the workplace,' " Levin said. "That's good for everybody. And ask the leaders of the Big Three, do they want unions to be able to be represented, people to be able to be represented, have a voice in the workplace? And they say that's better for economic development in Michigan." - The Hill, 12/11/12
Levin and other Michigan Democrats paid a visit to Snyder on Monday to try and persuade him not to sign this legislation.  Unfortunately, Snyder chose to ignore levin and his colleagues.  David Weigel highlighted that Snyder for a while stated he wouldn't support "right to work" legislation, until it finally came to his desk:

   How 'bout right-to-work, a surefire way to galvanize labor support against whoever backs it? "A divisive issue. Union is not a lens I use."

- The Detroit News, July 30, 2009

   Someone else asked if Snyder supported Michigan becoming a so-called right to work state, where individuals can opt out of joining a worker's union. Snyder said the issue was a divisive one that's not on his agenda. Instead, he said, the state needs to examine the compensation it pays public employees and bring it in line with jobs in the private sector.

- Battle Creek Enquirer, June 9, 2010

   When asked about whether he supported right-to-work legislation, which would allow employees to opt in or out of union membership, he said it wasn't a priority because it was too divisive an issue in difficult economic times.

- Detroit Free Press, August 18, 2010

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder speaks during the 4th Annual Symposium at the A. Alfred Taubman Biomedical Science Research Building on Oct. 14, 2011. Angela J. Cesere |
   Don't look for the new governor to immediately firebomb the existing structure. Neither Snyder nor Bernero proposes dismantling the MEDC. Nor will either push a divisive fight to make Michigan a right-to-work state as a way to combat negative perceptions of the labor climate here.

- Detroit Free Press, September 10, 2010

   When it came to other business issues, such as a right-to-work law for Michigan that some West Michigan business leaders have been promoting for two years now, Bernero and Snyder agreed in their opposition. Snyder said it would "create a divisive atmosphere that would prevent too many good things from happening.

- The Grand Rapids Press, September 18, 2010

   Mr. Snyder is a bridge builder. He refuses, for instance, to enter the fight over a controversial right-to-work law, recognizing that the fissures such a proposal uncovers are not worth the potential benefits.

- The Grand Rapids Press, September 26, 2010

Governor Rick Snyder speaks during the Clean Energy Prize Award Ceremony at the University of Michigan's Rackham Auditorium on Feb. 18, 2011.  Angela J. Cesere |
   Snyder has ruffled conservatives with his stands allowing rape and incest victims to have abortions, and favoring stem cell research. He opposes gay marriage, but will allow civil unions. He says a Right to Work law isn't worth arguing about.

- NPR, October 22, 2010

   In Michigan, Republican House Speaker Jase Bolger has been leaning toward supporting a right to work measure, but Republican Gov. Rick Snyder has said he wants no part of it.

- The Associated Press, April 6, 2011

   Snyder did not address right-to-work in his presentation but told members of the news media afterward "it is not on my agenda" because it is "divisive."

- Grand Rapids Business Journal, September 17, 2012

   The news of the signing was a bit of a surprise, and relayed rather matter-of-factly by the governor. He said he saw how divisive the issue was and noted the large crowds of protestors outside the Capitol, saying he didn’t see a need for a public signing or ceremony. Instead he said it was just time take a position and move forward.
   “I don’t view this as anti-labor. I view this as pro-worker,” Snyder said.

- The Detroit Free Press, today

- David Weigel, Slate, 12/11/12

We need to get ready to fight back in 2014.  Senator Levin hasn't announced his retirement yet but whether he runs again or not, we need to make sure we have someone in the U.S. Senate who sticks up for organized labor.  Snyder will have to face the voters again in 2014 as well.  Not only should he be punished at the polls but also his union-busting cronies in the State House and State Senate.  If you live in Michigan, you can get involved with the Michigan Democratic Party and get ready to take back Michigan for the working man:

Originally posted to pdc on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 08:42 PM PST.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions.

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