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Union members at Indiana statehouse protesting anti-union bill.
No surprise here: Having made big anti-union strides in Michigan this week, Republicans are hoping to repeat the trick by passing so-called "right to work" laws in a series of other states. What's not to love in a law that weakens unions and reduces average wages by $1,500 a year?
“I support this goal on the national and state level and look forward to Kentucky joining Michigan in the near future,” Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said in a statement.

Even in blue New Jersey, a major backer of right-to-work bills said the shift this week in Lansing had changed some minds.

“I think that what happened in Michigan sent a signal that people in states with histories of strong unions are now open to a new perspective,” said state Assemblywoman Amy H. Handlin (R).

Kentucky? Maybe. But New Jersey's Handlin is ignoring the fact that in several states we've seen a few Republicans voting against these bills. In Michigan, six House Republicans and four Senate Republicans voted no. That's why Michigan Republican leadership had to push the law now, in the lame duck session—because, come January, even though Democrats only gained five seats in the state House and will still be in a 59 to 51 minority, the votes wouldn't have been there. In New Hampshire in 2011, Republicans had the votes to override many of Democratic Gov. John Lynch's vetoes, but not this one, despite Republican leadership engaging in serious arm-twisting of the Republicans voting no. All of which is to say, even under Gov. Chris Christie, New Jersey is seriously unlikely to take this route in the near future.

Even as weakening unions by forcing them to provide representation to people who don't pay their fair share of the direct costs of representation is a top Republican priority, it remains something a noticeable number of Republican legislators oppose, despite threats from their leadership and their party's biggest donors. Even in the immediate wake of the 2010 election that gave Republicans majorities in so many state legislatures, Indiana was the only state to pass this law. Michigan Republicans only dared it during their lame duck session, with many members of the House on their way out by January and many members of both chambers term-limited so that they won't face voters in 2014. So, as Workers' Voice spokesman Eddie Vale tells the Washington Post, "There still will be state battles, but I think that we’re getting to the end of the 2010 tea-party wave rather than a resurgence of them."

Passing any law they can that will weaken unions and workers remains a top priority of Republicans nationally, and they'll keep trying. They may have some successes, and as Indiana and Michigan join the race to the bottom for wages and working conditions and unions in those states are weakened, the cause of workers nationally is weakened. So it's not that the outlook in the wake of Michigan is good. But "we're gonna sweep the nation" Republican triumphalism is a bit premature.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Thu Dec 13, 2012 at 07:27 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Not just anti-union laws (3+ / 0-)

    There will be even more attempts to implement voter ID laws and curtail early voting.

  •  Sounds like time for initiatives (7+ / 0-)

    ... to restore and enshrine workers' rights.  Bringing out voters in midterm elections with wedge issue initiatives is a longtime Republican trick.  Time Democrats stood up for unions and began a drive to expand workers' rights, rather than limiting them.  Collective bargaining rights, living wage laws, and the like are all good draws for initiative processes.  Laws demanding prompt and complete disclosure of campaign expenditures by independent groups would also likely prove popular, so people know who's buying who.

    If Republicans want to fight for billionaires and expand the class war, it's high time Democrats stopped playing defense and went on offense.

    Citizens United defeated by citizens, united.

    by Dallasdoc on Thu Dec 13, 2012 at 07:32:28 AM PST

  •  No chance in New Jersey (0+ / 0-)

    as long as the Democrats control both, not mention one, of the houses of the legislature.

    Let all the Bush tax cuts expire

    by Paleo on Thu Dec 13, 2012 at 07:42:23 AM PST

  •  Anyone have comment, or info, on this (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DRo, chrississippi, VClib
    At a public meeting of labor and corporate officers last summer, Snyder said he deliberately pleaded with union leaders not to go forward with the ballot initiative.

    "If you do this, you should anticipate you're going to create a divisive discussion on right-to-work also," Snyder told Reuters in an interview on Wednesday, recalling his remarks.

    Unions pressed forward and some Republicans say that this essentially blew up a "gentlemen's agreement" between the unions and Republicans that neither would rock the boat on labor legislation in Michigan.

    UAW President Bob King told Reuters that labor leaders pursued Proposal 2 because they expected a Republican push on right-to-work regardless.

    Let all the Bush tax cuts expire

    by Paleo on Thu Dec 13, 2012 at 07:44:05 AM PST

    •  Sounds like the UAW knows bullshit when it (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Words In Action

      hears it ... Did anyone actually believe Snyder? "Don't hurt our GOPer fee fees, because then bad things will happen." Geez.

      Right-to-work was going to happen no matter what. Being dicks is what bullies do.

    •  Reminds me of the "don't reform the filibuster (0+ / 0-)

      or we'll really become obstructionist!"

      The Class, Terror and Climate Wars are indivisible and the short-term outcome will affect the planet for centuries. -WiA "When you triangulate everything, you can't even roll downhill..." - PhilJD

      by Words In Action on Thu Dec 13, 2012 at 08:16:23 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Labor was fighting the onslaught (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      of over eighty anti labor laws that they passed. Snyder signed every one of them, all the while saying those things were not on his agenda.
      When pressed to say whether he'd sign RTW, he wouldn't answer.
      The unions felt the initiative was necessary to fight the attacks. We lost, not because of the protection of collective bargaining, but because of amending the state constitution. There were many proposals on the ballot, most of them amending the constitution. Republicans framed the issue around the "Don't mess with the constition" argument, and won.

  •  Which is why we can't fail in MI. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jpmassar, Mostel26, la58

    Even if we can't get the law immediately rescinded OR prevent the upcoming "new and improved" emergency manager law, we CAN demonstrate how pyrrhic these victories can and should be.

    As I commented elsewhere in other related diaries:

    We MUST establish a working model for effective, irresistible public pressure in MI. We MUST draw this line in the sand over Union and local community government busting.

    We MUST see that more people join the current demonstration (18,000, according to another diary on the rec list). These people should come not only from MI but also surrounding states. The outcome in MI affects us all.

    Those 18,000 could split up into 18 groups of 1,000, march around the city, and really create a stir. Once it proved effective, that could encourage even more people to come.

    Last, and this is CRITICAL, the 18,000 MUST encourage and organize around support from the rest of the country who can't be there by putting up donation and in-kind service websites a la Occupy. As with Occupy, no doubt there are local businesses who would contribute food, coffee, water, PA Systems, etc.

    Perhaps experienced Occupy logistics people could work with Union organizers to create and operate the ad hoc administration of this support network?

    I don't know, but we can't let this opportunity to develop and demonstrate an effective people's response to these outrageous state actions. The outcome is to important and the fact is we will need this capability so that we can repeat it elsewhere if we are ever going to get economic justice and responsible Climate action programs.

    If we fail in MI, we WILL fail again elsewhere.

    The Class, Terror and Climate Wars are indivisible and the short-term outcome will affect the planet for centuries. -WiA "When you triangulate everything, you can't even roll downhill..." - PhilJD

    by Words In Action on Thu Dec 13, 2012 at 08:14:33 AM PST

    •  Two men with ugly shoes should (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Words In Action

      not be running America but the Koch brothers are !

      We the People have to make a difference and the Change.....Just do it ! Be part of helping us build a veteran community online. United Veterans of America

      by Vetwife on Thu Dec 13, 2012 at 09:07:48 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Actions in Michigan on Saturday (0+ / 0-)

      And you are so right, we must win this.  

      Action planned by AFL-CIO against the RTW legislation. MEA also has an action planned. Please visit the FB page: Expose Governor Snyder's Gift to Graduating Students: A Weaker Michigan Economy and a Divided Michigan State University, 2012 Fall Commencement, Saturday December 15 Please pass these along/many thx/s

      One place to visit is the Michigan Petitioners FB page for updates (which is now an open group) as well as the FB page "Working Michigan", which paid for the ad re the rally on Saturday.

      And you are also right, we need to make sure we have a broad coalition working against these laws and as much financial support as possible.  I am hoping this will be developing in the next several days/weeks and working michigan, michigan forward  or one/many of the unions will take the lead.


    •  I know (0+ / 0-)

      I read a quote from some GOP poobah the other day gloating "24 down, 26 to go." They want to make the U.S. a right-to-work-for-less, impoverished third-world country.

      Jon Husted is a dick.

      by anastasia p on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 04:32:02 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I have myself this question (0+ / 0-)

    time and time again Why would anyone who works for a living ever vote Republican? Do they hate themselves or just plain hate everyone and want everyone else to suffer just for spite. Sure wish I knew the answer.

    •  They don't pay attention to politics and are (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      susceptible to negative advertising aimed directly at them with big money donations from conservatives from afar.

    •  false consciousness (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Stude Dude
      Members of a subordinate class (workers, peasants, serfs) suffer from false consciousness in that their mental representations of the social relations around them systematically conceal or obscure the realities of subordination, exploitation, and domination those relations embody.

      yksitoista ulotteinen presidentin shakki. / tappaa kaikki natsit "Nous sommes un groupuscule" (-9.50; -7.03) 政治委员, 政委‽ Warning - some snark above ‽

      by annieli on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 04:20:50 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Michigan will learn - by same token reverse (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Stude Dude, TDDVandy

    These stupid anti-worker laws - why work for less? When wages start dropping THEY WILL KNOW!!

  •  It's kind of unspoken about term limits (0+ / 0-)

    But term limits end up giving legislators the attitude that what their constituents think doesn't matter, because they're out of office in a couple of years either way.

    How many of the Republicans that voted for this garbage were straight-forward and honest with their citizens about their stance on it before the vote?  I'm willing to bet that some people were shocked to find out their legislator was anti-labor.

    28, white male, TX-26 (current), TN-09 (born), TN-08 (where parents live now)

    by TDDVandy on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 04:33:19 PM PST

  •  FB page to help unions eliminate RTW in MI (0+ / 0-)

    And as of a few hours ago:

    "It's UNBELIEVABLE the Support this Page is Getting! I want to thank each and every one of you for your time and Support for this Cause! We are GROWING at an approximate rate of 1 "Like" every 15 minutes! That's HUGE! Keep "Sharing"! Lets show them the POWER in Numbers!"

    Like if you want and let's get on the move.


  •  Let this push against unions renew our energies (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Stude Dude

    against the owning classes and their political stooges.

    (I used to sound like that in college, and when I did, I was right. Nothing's changed, except the right is even more arrogant than it was then. Don't let them win!)

    "There's a lot to be said for making people laugh. Did you know that that's all some people have? It isn't much, but it's better than nothing in this cockeyed caravan." --Joel McCrea as "Sully," in "Sullivan's Travels."

    by Wildthumb on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 05:00:19 PM PST

  •  Here in Kentucky (0+ / 0-)

    a newly energized Repub State legislature intends to introduce the Worker slavery bill soon. Sick sick.
    Local Public radio announced this on Thursday. Don't know what Dem Gov Beshear will do. Won reelection last year.

    This is Kochs' real goal,a d they promised as much after the elections last month that they did not feel defeated at all by the Nov 6 elections, that they had an agenda to pursue. here we are.

    "What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them." -- Pres. Obama (1/20/2009)

    by zizi on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 05:43:16 PM PST

  •  Make. Them. Pay. (0+ / 0-)

    If their constituencies aren't all for union-busting, they all need to be voted out. A little righteous anger is in order.

    The dire straits facing America are not due poor people having too much money

    by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 06:18:16 PM PST

  •  One More Union (0+ / 0-)

    Maybe we should just have one big union for all workers and go around crushing companies. That would put a stop to this.

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