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Michigan Republicans Pass 'Right-To-Work' For Less Bills Without Hearings or Input from Residents

United Steelworkers Union Blasts Proposed Michigan Legislation Targeting Workers’ Rights

Published Friday, December 7, 2012 4:00 pm
by National AFL-CIO News Now & USW Labor Wire

National AFL-CIO News Now Editor’s Note: Chris Savage is a Michigan-Based Political Writer and Owner of Eclectablog.  You can also follow him on Facebook and Twitter.


(LANSING, MICHIGAN) - National AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and President Barack Obama spoke out against Right-To-Work for less Legislation, Laws that Reduce Wages and Benefits for Working Families. 

Earlier this week, Michigan Republicans - along with Republican Governor Rick Snyder - were planning on making Michigan the Nation’s 24th Right-To-Work for less(RTWFL) State by the end of the year.

The timetable was, apparently, far more aggressive than that.

A day after Snyder announced RTWFL was “on the table,” he held a Joint Press Conference with House Speaker Jase Bolger and Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, saying that he was asking for the Legislation to be passed and that he would sign it into Law. “I do not view this as something against the Unions.”  Rather, he went on, it’s about “Workers [having] the Right to Choose who they associate with.”

What happened next must have set a new record for the speed at which the Michigan Legislature gets Bills passed.  By the end of the day, both the Senate and the House vacated existing Placeholder Bills, dropped in new RTWFL Language and passed a total of three Bills - two in the Senate and another in the House.

No Committee Hearings.

No Floor Debate.

The Democrats could do virtually nothing as the Republicans steamrolled the Bills through without any Formal Public Input whatsoever.

A procedural speed bump put in place by Democrats delayed moving the Senate Bills to the House by one day and there is a Mandatory Five-Day Waiting Period before the House can take action.  

This allows Union-Supporting Citizens to express their disdain for these New Laws, just as they did on Thursday (November 6th) as thousands of Michiganders descended on the Capitol Building.  

In the onslaught of this Informal Public Input, House Speaker Bolger locked down the Capitol Building.

Tempers flared, Protestors were maced and it took a Court Order requested by the Democrats to get the building opened again.

The Bills include a $1 million appropriation.  Michigan Law precludes Citizen Referendums to Overturn Laws with Appropriations, so not only was there no opportunity for Public In-Put before the Bills were voted on.  There will be none afterwards, as well.

Michigan AFL-CIO President Karla Swift said: “Today was a Dark Day for Democracy in Michigan.  The People were shut out of their own Capitol so that Lawmakers could ‘better serve’ Corporate Special Interests.  But Working People in this State are resilient, and will keep fighting until their ‘voices’ are heard.”

You can read the rest of this Labor News Report by visiting:


United Steelworkers Union Blasts Proposed Michigan Legislation Targeting Workers’ Rights

(PITTSBURGH) – The United Steelworkers (USW) Union issued the following statements on the Michigan’s Legislature’s and Republican Governor Snyder’s attempts to pass Right-To-Work for less Legislation:

From USW International President Leo Gerard: “This move, coming only a month after the Election, is an obvious attempt by a ‘Lame-Duck’ Legislature to ram through an Unpopular and Unnecessary Piece of Garbage at the last minute.  Voters sent a clear message on November Sixth that they want Politicians to stand up for American Workers and find solutions that will Create Good Jobs and put Working Families ahead of Corporate/Right-Wing Interests.  It seems the Republican Leadership in Michigan ‘did not’ get that message.  Instead of listening to the People of Michigan, they’re wasting their time with a Bill that would do the opposite.  Laws like this bring Lower Wages, Slashed Benefits, Disappearing Pensions and Unsafe Workplaces.  They ‘silence the voices’ of People who Work for a Living.  Calling this bill ‘Right-To-Work’ is a lie.  The only ‘rights’ it will provide are the ‘rights’ of Millionaires and Billionaires to do whatever they want to Working People.  This is ‘wrong’ for Michigan and ‘wrong’ for Hard-Working People across the United States.”

From USW District 2 (Michigan & Wisconsin) Director Michael Bolton: “The People of Michigan have a Proud History of standing up for the Rights of Workers.  It’s that History that helped build the Middle Class in this Country.  By passing this Bill, the ‘cowards’ in the Republican Leadership in Michigan are turning their back on that Legacy and telling the People of Michigan that Corporate, Right-Wing Interests are ‘more important’ than the Hard-Working Families of this State.  It’s a shameful, disgraceful move by Leaders who are clearly out of step with the Will of the People.”

The USW represents 850,000 Workers in the United States, across Canada and the Caribbean in a Wide Variety of Industries, ranging from Glass-Making to Mining, Paper, Steel, Tire and Rubber to the Public Sector, Service and Health-Care Industries.


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