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Posted on Mon, Jun 10, 2013 : 6:03 p.m.

Snyder talks right-to-work legislation, connecting talent and reinventing Michigan at conference

By Ben Freed


Governor Rick Snyder spoke to economic development professionals from around the world at the Michigan League on Monday afternoon.

Daniel Brenner |

Gov. Rick Snyder carried his “relentless positive” attitude into his speech at the International Economic Development Council spring conference in Ann Arbor Monday afternoon.

The governor primarily spoke about economic development and a number of steps his administration has taken with the goal of “reinventing” Michigan’s economy.

After his speech, Snyder answered questions that touched on a few more hot-button issues including the passage “right-to-work” legislation, immigration reform and gay marriage.

When asked about right to work, Snyder said he was never working on the legislation and it was not a top priority of his. He said he asked proponents of Proposition 2 not to continue their efforts and warned them right to work could be an issue if their ballot initiative failed.

“But when it comes down to it, if it’s controversial, you hired me to make decisions, and I’m not going to walk away from an issue that’s on the table,” he said.

“It was my view that it was clear, that this was the right thing. It’s about workers rights, it’s about standing up for workers… but we’ve made that decision so let’s put the issue behind us and move on to the next issues we have to work on.”

On immigration reform, which is receiving increased attention in Washington, D.C., Snyder said he is one of the “most pro-immigration governors in the country.”

In an interview after the speech, Snyder said one immigration issue of particular concern to University of Michigan students, whether unauthorized immigrants who graduate from state high schools pay in-state or international tuition rates, should not be decided at the state level.

“In Michigan’s system it’s a local and a university decision so there are a variety of policies out there,” he said.

“I think we’ve had a system that’s worked well in the past where the university’s can make that call so I don’t see the point in making legislation on the topic.”

Snyder gave a similar response to a question on whether legalizing gay marriage would be of benefit to the state’s economy in attracting talent. Snyder said he was “open to discussion” on the issue but saw it as unlikely to pass through the legislature and a distraction from his primary effort, which he believes is economic recovery.

Snyder began with a listing of Michigan’s woes in the early 21st century, saying many states had a really difficult time — especially when the economy took a turn for the worst.

“Well, the difference is Michigan had a whole decade of 2009," he said. "We were at the bottom, we were 50th out of 50 in way too many categories… We were the only state in the nation that actually lost population between 2000 and 2010.”

Part of the solution to the myriad of problems facing the state, Snyder said, was to overhaul the way state government went about economic development.

“We were doing things the wrong way. One thing we did was ‘hunting’ to bring big companies here with big packages of tax credits,” he said.

“… Tax credits are an easy way out for politicians because you’re often not in office to deal with it a few years down the road when those credits come due.”

The one of the philosophical touchstones of Snyder’s turnaround policy has been his insistence that politicians in Lansing reexamine their role in the lives of the state’s citizens and learn to view the state government more like a business.

“We’re a customer service organization, and all of you are the customers,” he said.

“The citizens and companies and organizations in the state want good value for their money.”

Snyder pointed to overhauling the Michigan Business Tax and the establishment of new talent connection networks as steps in the right direction for the state. He said that the talent pipeline in the state is one of his top concerns.

“You have to have the talent along with the ‘three C’s,’” he said.

“The first ‘C’ is collaboration, connecting with the private sector and finding out what their needs are… the second ‘C’ is creating talent, and working with the education sector and making sure that education is more than something on a piece of paper, it’s putting them on a path to connect, which happens to be the third ‘C.’”

Connecting talent to the available jobs has been difficult for companies and unemployed individuals across America and was a major topic of discussion throughout the IEDC conference. Snyder pointed to the portal as one step the state has taken towards helping those connections happen and said in an interview after his speech that more initiatives are on the way.

“It was a big part of the economic development summit in March and the education summit in April,” he said.

“We have a number of action items that we’re still putting together and will be rolled out soon. Particularly we’re looking at working within regions at talent connection and making sure that skilled trades are an emphasis.”

Ben Freed covers business for You can sign up here to receive Business Review updates every week. Get in touch with Ben at 734-623-2528 or email him at Follow him on twitter @BFreedinA2



Wed, Jun 12, 2013 : 2:05 p.m.

I am not asking anyone to negotiate for me but the real myth is that all employees in the same company under the same union contract are treated the same. My husband worked 10 years under a Teamster's contract for a local concrete company, he paid the same amount in union dues as all the other union workders, but because other members had more time in the company than he did they were given more hours paid overtime while he was not even getting 40 hours a week. So... the myth is that non-union members with right to work are taking away from uion members who have negotiated a contract, think again union members often take away from their own members.


Wed, Jun 12, 2013 : 10:35 a.m.

I know one thing for sure. Prior and just after Snyder's election the governor did not want to make any changes in regards to Right-to-Work. If the unions weren't so pushy with Prop 2 and wanting to force their unions down Michigan tax payers throats, Right-to-Work would have never been considered. Businesses are afraid to move to Michigan because of the unions and the control they have over business owners rights to make their own decisions. If unions want to grow their membership and become stronger stop threatening people with a stick and fist and provide what people want and need.

Usual Suspect

Wed, Jun 12, 2013 : 3:25 p.m.



Wed, Jun 12, 2013 : 2:02 p.m.

Don't be naive, Snyder pulled the old bait and switch during a marathon midnight session in a locked capitol with a super majority. Not on his agenda....sure...whatever you say!


Tue, Jun 11, 2013 : 7:56 p.m.

Yep, Hiring Detroit's EM - Kevin Orr - before declaring the emergency, despite not having the legal authority to make the hire. The BOARD had the authority to consider candidates and make the hire after an emergency was declared. The Governor made a mockery of the entire process. That's a relentless positive attitude ? How about discriminating against gay people ... same-sex marriage, domestic partner benefits - you name the topic, the Governor has discriminated and changed the message: to save money, because it won't get through the legislature, it's not on my agenda, etc. etc. And this includes removing health care benefits from domestic partners and their children 3 days before Christmas. That's a relentless positive attitude? Massive cuts to K-12 and higher education in order to support big cuts to Corporate tax rates? Taxing Senior Pensions? Raising State income tax rates? Cutting insurance for catastrophic auto injuries? Cutting workers comp insurance benefits for work related injuries? ..... I know, just more relentless positive attitude adjustments.


Wed, Jun 12, 2013 : 6:57 a.m.

Hey Sparty, want to run for Governor?

Janet Delicata

Tue, Jun 11, 2013 : 4:57 p.m.

Please, someone get him to stop calling us "customers"!! PR people, marketing people..if you're watching, stop the madness. Also, I can blow so many holes through the 3 C's it's unreal. He needs to stop with the cutesy little slogans and talk like a real human being. We're not morons. Thank you.


Wed, Jun 12, 2013 : 1:58 a.m.

It's not just business, as a student in public administration, we were taught the word "customer" is used as a metaphor for citizens. The city you live in provides basic services, like a business. That does not mean it IS a business, but there are so many metaphors between government and business that they cross over. I think his detractors hate that he uses words like customers because it reinforces their belief that he's a disconnected plutocrat out to enrich himself and those in his economic class.


Tue, Jun 11, 2013 : 4:08 p.m.

There are a lot of unhappy people here. Yet Rick has balanced the budget for 2 years now. Something previous governors have failed to do. That alone is a huge accomplishment.


Wed, Jun 12, 2013 : 6:55 a.m.

Plus Jennifer Granholm cut more money from the state budget than any other governor in the country.


Tue, Jun 11, 2013 : 11:30 p.m.

Thanks ghost. I stand corrected.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Tue, Jun 11, 2013 : 8:05 p.m.

The Michigan Constitution requires a balanced budget every year, and that has happened every year, no matter who the governor was. GN&GL


Tue, Jun 11, 2013 : 5:54 p.m.

Where's all those jobs he said would be created, the unemployed in MI are STILL WAITING


Tue, Jun 11, 2013 : 5:48 p.m.

Well I bet I could've balanced the budget on the backs of the middle class and working poor too! A huge accomplishment....for big businesses and Snyder's bank account that is!

sheri barron RN,BSN

Tue, Jun 11, 2013 : 2:36 p.m.

All I know is that Michigan's Nurses Assoc. did not seem to help me get my RN position back- I have spent lots of $$$$$ for dues over the years. See sheri barron on vimeo. People have said if I keep 'it up' I am going to end up in the bottom of a river somewhere or...I just want America to get back at being the home of the free with JUSTICE FOR ALL.

Rick Stevens

Tue, Jun 11, 2013 : 1:56 p.m.

'...catagories...' Can anyone spell any more?

Usual Suspect

Wed, Jun 12, 2013 : 3:28 p.m.

Once or twice would be petty. But every day, and from a professional news publication? Not petty.


Tue, Jun 11, 2013 : 8:24 p.m.

seems petty

Claude Kershner

Tue, Jun 11, 2013 : 1:25 p.m.

I'm sure the Democrats have a perfect candidate to run against Snyder. Who will it be and what will they do differently that won't cost the state more money, raise more taxes on homeowners and business, drive unemployment lower and improve education? My guess is there is no candidate that is going to successfully run against a track record of progress in multiple areas without a clearly articulated plan. Raging against the segments Of Snyder's agenda we locally find offensive doesn't constitute statewide support for our views.


Wed, Jun 12, 2013 : 6:39 a.m.

So because the Dems don't have a Jack Kennedy in the wings, we should vote for Snyder. LOL. By the way, if we don't raise taxes at some point, we are not going to be able to fix our roads and bridges, the decaying underground water and sewer pipes, and on and on. But we will still be able to add to the $10T that the rich have pocketed over the last 30 years.

Dirty Mouth

Tue, Jun 11, 2013 : 12:31 p.m.

Governor Rick Snyder: Thanks for destroying our AAPS. Thank you.


Wed, Jun 12, 2013 : 3:28 p.m.

Back in the 70's and 80's school systems were different and so were our teachers. Teachers were allowed to discipline students and parents backed them for doing it, now I agree with Peggysue the public schools are a joke with overpaid babysitters, high paid administrators and benefits only public employees get.


Tue, Jun 11, 2013 : 4:06 p.m.

Sounds like Peggysue puts teachers one rung above McDonalds counter employees. My guess is she has no idea what it is like to be a teacher. I think she needs a good dose of education.


Tue, Jun 11, 2013 : 3:13 p.m.

@Peggysue - and what is the metric for "college ready", do you know? Well, I do. It is the following scores on the ACT (who made up this idiotic measurement) - English 18 Math 22 Reading 21 Science 24. I can easily say that my 2 kids (MSU and UM grads, one with a Master's degree, the other with Master's credits) were NOT "college ready"! Neither of them scored a 24 in science! That is why this measurement is a complete and utter joke because it has no relationship to what actually happens in colleges.


Tue, Jun 11, 2013 : 2:53 p.m.

I should clarify...public education in Ann Arbor in the 70's and 80's was top notch. The teachers I had at Eberwhite, Slauson, and Pioneer were the best. So sad it doesn't seem to be that way anymore.


Tue, Jun 11, 2013 : 2:17 p.m.

Lol overpaid babysitters, highest paid administrators,benefits,overstaffed,and what per cent is college ready?


Tue, Jun 11, 2013 : 12:19 p.m.

Looking at wage information for Michigan, MI has lower wages than national averages in almost all job categories. One exception has been "production". What shall we wager that that changes, and not for the better?


Tue, Jun 11, 2013 : 3:09 p.m.

@Peggysue - and that will not change if he continues down this road. How many kids have graduated from MSU (best teacher program in the country) or UM school of information that are headed out o state? Other states see the value in our graduates, but we don't because we only want private businesses to do the hiring. It is beyond ridiculous.


Tue, Jun 11, 2013 : 2:22 p.m.

Not qualified for the jobs available,does education sound familiar? Where does mi.rank out of the 50 states?


Tue, Jun 11, 2013 : 12:17 p.m.

You just can't trust anything this Koch puppet says. He's already proven to be a LIAR


Wed, Jun 12, 2013 : 6:33 a.m.

He is not a liar. He drank the CoolAid that making the rich richer creates jobs. He knows this works first hand because he is pocketing more money by paying less taxes which allows him to employ another house keeper and gardener.

Usual Suspect

Tue, Jun 11, 2013 : 5:23 p.m.

Two hours and thirteen minutes for the first Koch reference. You're slipping.


Tue, Jun 11, 2013 : 12:05 p.m.

How many workers asked for RTW to suddenly appear on his Agenda? If it was being driven from the grass roots, why didn;t they put it on a ballot? Why did they SPECIFICALLY set it up so thet The People CANNOT vote on it? (because it was a pay off for his financial backers, not for workers?) This idea that somehow the proposal to enshrine collective bargaining into the constitution was the cause of him passing RTW is ...well, I cannot print it due to community standards..what a bunch of crap! Where are the jobs, Rick? If you can pass RTW in the dead of night, maybe you can pass new road funding taxes the same way? Put it on your "not on my Agenda Agenda" and see how fast it gets done.


Wed, Jun 12, 2013 : 11:13 p.m.

Granholm = one state recession.


Wed, Jun 12, 2013 : 7:43 p.m.

That is in accurate <3 2 <3...RTW hasn't even taken affect in 90%+ contracts. These jobs are a direct result of the auto loans and policies that needed time to work at the end of Governor Granholm's admin.


Wed, Jun 12, 2013 : 6:42 p.m.

"Where are the jobs, Rick? " Here are 2200. Do I need to send your resume in for you too?

Karlheinz Groeger

Tue, Jun 11, 2013 : 11:37 a.m.

Snyder is a snake oil salesman, who's been bought and paid for by the corporations that want nothing more than to make sure we all work for nothing! Giving tax breaks to big business, while taxing senior's pensions! Disgusting!


Wed, Jun 12, 2013 : 6:25 a.m.

They don't pay the $2B that they paid when the single business tax was in place. Debunked!


Tue, Jun 11, 2013 : 3:17 p.m.

What tax breaks to big business exactly? That has been repeatedly debunked.


Tue, Jun 11, 2013 : 7 a.m.

"It was my view that it was clear, that this was the right thing. It's about workers rights, it's about standing up for workers… but we've made that decision so let's put the issue behind us and move on to the next issues we have to work on." Move on to what? WHere are all the jobs that RTW was supposed to create? "Well, the difference is Michigan had a whole decade of 2009," he said. "We were at the bottom, we were 50th out of 50 in way too many catagories… We were the only state in the nation that actually lost population between 2000 and 2010." And things have changed now becasue of your policies?????? "Part of the solution to the myriad of problems facing the state, Snyder said, was to overhaul the way state government went about economic development. "We were doing things the wrong way. One thing we did was 'hunting' to bring big companies here with big packages of tax credits," he said." And what big company has your adminstration brought in? Tax credits are only granted when a company is landed- no facility no credits. It also requires an admisntration to get off its duff and meet with large employers to get them to locate here- something you have not done.


Wed, Jun 12, 2013 : 6:23 a.m.

You are right Clown, the Republicans.


Tue, Jun 11, 2013 : 12:28 p.m.

2010 population- 9,883,640 2012 population- 9,883,360 Yep, his Agenda is working like a charm to attract people to our state. Who ran congress for the the period of 2000-2010? Who made the laws? Who set tax policy?

Kai Petainen

Tue, Jun 11, 2013 : 3:05 a.m.

"Gov. Rick Snyder carried his "relentless positive" attitude into his speech " Question -- why is 'relentless positive' in that sentence and in quotes? Did he say he was relentlessly positive? Is it the opinion of the writer or In general... I think governors are usually relentlessly positive about the states they govern. I think?


Wed, Jun 12, 2013 : 1:52 a.m.

You're welcome. :-)

Kai Petainen

Tue, Jun 11, 2013 : 3:27 a.m.

@metric thx for explaining that. oky, that makes sense to me then...


Tue, Jun 11, 2013 : 3:23 a.m.

"Relentless Positive Action" has been the Governor's mantra since taking office. So, yes, they are quoting, or paraphrasing.

Maria Huffman

Tue, Jun 11, 2013 : 1:43 a.m.

I think it would be helpful for Governor Snyder to consider connecting with the public sector, in particular the education sector, and finding out what their needs are, as well doing the same with the private sector.


Wed, Jun 12, 2013 : 6:21 a.m.

He has, online classes and more "choice" from for profit schools that mostly perform worse than the public schools.


Tue, Jun 11, 2013 : 1:37 a.m.

Much of what he touts is hot air.


Tue, Jun 11, 2013 : 1:33 a.m.

oh jjebchbajmjzaxzxzxxzxzvjx[kzxzck! I almost don't hate him anymore. Sure wish he hadn't betrayed my vote with RTW. And's about worker's rights alright!


Tue, Jun 11, 2013 : 12:33 a.m.

His whole "you are my customer" speel is tiresome and my ears bleed a little when he says "Michiganders"


Tue, Jun 11, 2013 : 2:37 p.m.

Not to mention the shop worn and bogus "relentless positive action"..............

An Arborigine

Mon, Jun 10, 2013 : 11:58 p.m.

Pulte Homes vacated Michigan under your rule Gov. How's that for "job creation"?


Wed, Jun 12, 2013 : 6:18 a.m.

Joe is correct, there is more money to be made in Atlanta building homes. But, it also shows us that the current regime in Michigan has not turned this state into a business Mecca.


Tue, Jun 11, 2013 : 8:17 p.m.

Pulte moved to Atlanta, a long time home of its CEO. It also aligns better with the location of their building business.

Basic Bob

Tue, Jun 11, 2013 : 2:30 a.m.

How many Pulte McMansions have you bought recently?


Mon, Jun 10, 2013 : 11:28 p.m.

Governor Snyder needs to recognize the 400,000 remaining unemployed citizens of Michigan produced the the auto recession. Instead of limiting the duration for receiving unemployment insurance checks, he should be financing their re-education and training for 21st century jobs. Meanwhile he could put them all to work restoring our infrastructure, including replacing roads and bridges, upgrading our sanitation systems and replacing outdated schools. The investment will go directly into our economy and cause a resurgence in the state's GDP.


Wed, Jun 12, 2013 : 6:14 a.m.

But there is no tax money for these people because of the business tax cuts and we all know that the monied people in this state need more money, how can they afford their Benz payments, private school tuition, and still put food on their table?

Basic Bob

Tue, Jun 11, 2013 : 2:34 a.m.

Now that unemployment benefits have run out, it is easier to see who has undeclared income. I would love to put them all to work building the downriver bridge, and for prevailing wage at that.


Mon, Jun 10, 2013 : 11:13 p.m.

If unions need to constantly compete for individual members at a given shop, then that will harden their position and prevent their leadership from making the concessions that will preserve their jobs in the long term. Could GM and Chrysler have gotten the concessions that saved them out of a UAW in a right to work Michigan? I voted against Prop 2 because I thought that it did not belong written into the constitution, as its opponents said. However, I am very disappointed, as during those lame duck, late night, closed door legislative sessions, somebody pulled a bait and switch on me. You can bet that I'll remember that bait and switch, particularly when the extremists that occupy (especially my district) the state legislature come up for reelection.


Wed, Jun 12, 2013 : 1:52 p.m.

That is your right to not re-elect anyone you do not agree with, but it should also be my right to not join a union if I do not want to.


Tue, Jun 11, 2013 : 5:10 p.m.

Even though I gave you a thumbs up...I believe we made a grave mistake by NOT cementing it into the Constitution; where it couldn't be messed with without a super-majority of citizen approval. My opinion is that something of this much influence and impact on workers rights should be exactly just the Constitution.


Mon, Jun 10, 2013 : 11:09 p.m.

Right to Work is about standing up for workers, huh? These are the kind of statements that make people completely distrust politicians. I'd have so much more respect for him if he was just honest about sticking it to workers as a favor to his fellow Republicans.


Wed, Jun 12, 2013 : 7:39 p.m.

Sorry GYRE...but you got caught in your own ideology. You want to ride the bus??? You gotta pay the bus fare! You want municipal services? You gotta pay your taxes! You want union benefits? You SHOULD have to pay your fair share of dues that support the negotiating and administrative process'. And furthermore... look up Beck Right's. I stand by my original post.


Wed, Jun 12, 2013 : 6:06 a.m.

Yeah, real freedom, being able to take advantage of benefits and work rules negotiated by a union and not having to pay for the service. How are dues paying co-workers going to feel about this person? Any union can be decertified by a majority vote of the workers. Why are there still unions then? Because the majority of workers see the benefits of unions and are willing to pay for it. The only people that universally don't like unions are business owners and needless to say, RTW will put more money into their pockets and because the state legislature is bought and paid for by rich business owners, RTW is now the law in Michigan.


Tue, Jun 11, 2013 : 10:17 p.m.

@ shutthefrtdoor : Let's look at this scenario from a different perspective. You want to work here, you are required to join the union. Then compare that to this statement: You want to ride the bus, then you are required to sit in the back. Both sound very discrimintory and violation of your rights. Prior the RTW, you could opt out of having your union dues to be used for political purposes. But this change is fundamental in that you now have the "right" not to join the union. You also have the right to join the union. Your choice. Choice. That's the key word. Prior to RTW, you had no choice if you wanted the job.


Tue, Jun 11, 2013 : 5:07 p.m. are absolutely, positively, and unequivocally WRONG. Workers have always been able to exercise their "Beck Right's" and receive EVERYTHING that RTW workers will. MMPPCC is absolutely correct in my opinion.


Tue, Jun 11, 2013 : 4:01 p.m.

Should the Union's right supercede my rights as a citizen? That is exactly what the old rule was. I had no rights other than to not take a job if I didn't want to join the Union. Now I have a the opportunity to take the job and decide if I want to join the Union or not join the Union. I would say that is definitely an increase in rights for the workers.

Nicholas Urfe

Mon, Jun 10, 2013 : 10:35 p.m.

"Gov. Rick Snyder carried his "relentless positive" attitude" That is the man who just declared the Detroit Institute of Art an "asset", subject to sale to private parties. And that is after voters rejected the GOP's emergency manager law because many of them were concerned with what actions those emergency managers might take.

Usual Suspect

Tue, Jun 11, 2013 : 2:52 p.m.

He did not - can can not - declare the DIA and its contents an asset. He did, however, as did Orr, point out the fact that a bankruptcy judge could possibly do that and might do that. The result of this is that people are now aware of it and are working to prevent it.


Tue, Jun 11, 2013 : 10:47 a.m.

Younare poorly informed. If Detroit goes into bankruptcy, a bankruptcy judge will determine what is an asset or not. DIA should have been a separate nonprofit, but the greedy city management over the years did not want to give up control. If it's an asset, it will be sold and should be.


Tue, Jun 11, 2013 : 1:48 a.m.

The Governor did not declare the DIA an "asset;" the Emergency Manager, Kevyn Orr did. And quite frankly, what other choice does he have? Everything has to be on the table, no matter how much it sucks to see a price tag put on these things.