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Posted on Wed, Feb 1, 2012 : 11:06 a.m.

In Congressional testimony, Snyder declines to say whether Right to Work creates jobs

By Nathan Bomey

Gov. Rick Snyder, testifying today at the U.S. House of Representatives' Education & the Workforce Committee, declined to take a position on whether Right to Work policies create jobs.

Snyder, asked whether he supported adopting Right to Work legislation for Michigan, repeated a long-standing position that the issue is "not on my agenda."


Gov. Rick Snyder testifies today in Washington.

Screen capture courtesy of U.S. House of Representatives

Pressed further on whether he believes the legislation leads to more jobs, Snyder demurred.

"I don't automatically have an answer," Snyder said.

Instead, Snyder urged politicians to set aside their previous conceptions about Right to Work, which eliminates unions' power to force employees to pay dues.

Some Republicans in Lansing are pushing Right to Work legislation, partly empowered by the success of legislation in Indiana, which is poised to approve the policy.

Snyder is testifying right now and you can watch it live here.

Contact's Nathan Bomey at (734) 623-2587 or You can also follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's newsletters.



Thu, Feb 2, 2012 : 9:45 p.m.

Since when has the GOP ever really care about "rights" except the unborn? They certainly do not care about worker's rights. It's all about removing a political force.


Thu, Feb 2, 2012 : 9:40 p.m.

If they really called it what it is -- "Right to Disband Unions and Pay Less" it would not get much traction. True to GOP tactics, they call something just the opposite and think that people will fall for it because they don't think for themselves about what things really mean.


Thu, Feb 2, 2012 : 3:06 p.m.

Unions have over stepped themselves and have become money laundering political bullying organizations. They take away freedom -- not support individual rights.


Fri, Feb 3, 2012 : 2:11 p.m.

Big unions have ALWAYS been money laundering organizations!


Thu, Feb 2, 2012 : 3:18 p.m.

Then you are free to work in a non-union shop, nobody will stop you.


Thu, Feb 2, 2012 : 2:35 p.m.

I think it is so cool that Rep Shirkey wants to sign into law that every Michigan resident has a right to a job! Why is it that if a person thinks a job is too dangerous, the GOP thinks that person should go somewhere else for work? If a person thinks a job pays to little, they should go somewhere else for a job? If a person is being harassed they should go somewhere else for a job? But...if a person wants to work in a union shop, but does not want to pay dues for the benefits a union brings, then all of a sudden the GOP is for a workers "rights"? If I want to shoot in a nationally sanctioned shooting match I have to belong to the NRA, and some of my money goes to their lobbyists, the GOP has no law against that. If I want to get insurance via AAA I have to belong to AAA and some of my money will go toward their political lobbyists. The GOP has no law against that. Now, all of a sudden, the GOP is concerned about the rights of the working man...? I doubt it. This is not about "rights", it is about defunding a GOP political opponent..unions..period. If you don't want to join a union, don't get a job in a union shop, according to our conservative posters here there are 70,000 jobs available in MI.


Thu, Feb 2, 2012 : 4:37 a.m.

A committee is questioning the governor? No wonder this state can't get anything done. The Governor should have refused to participate in such a kangaroo court environment. He's the governor.


Thu, Feb 2, 2012 : 2:05 p.m.

First we have the Anti-democracy law (efm) now the governor shouldn't be questioned?


Thu, Feb 2, 2012 : 2:02 p.m.

Maybe it would be better said, the republicans can't get anything done that helps the middle class.


Thu, Feb 2, 2012 : 3:10 a.m.

There seems to be a misperception that union members are forced to join and pay dues for political causes they don't support. This is completely UNTRUE as federal law already guarantees that no one can be forced to join a union, and no one can be required to pay union dues that fund political causes they oppose. This applies to both right-to-work and non-right-to-work states. So when someone says that Michigan should be a right-to-work state so workers can have the "freedom" to choose whether or not to join a union . . . it's an empty argument. Union members already have that choice.


Tue, Feb 7, 2012 : 8:45 p.m.

@maestra27 Why shouldn't the employer be required to disclose, in writing, to employees that they don't have to join, and if they don't they only have to pay shop fees that don't include political costs and exactly what those are? You use the word "member", but the new employee is not a member and does not have to join. My point exactly.


Thu, Feb 2, 2012 : 3:31 p.m.

@A2comments No one is hiding info. The union provides a services to all it's members, so why shouldn't they collect dues? If you don't want to pay the dues, then ask questions. Federal law says you don't have to pay. At the same time, is it fair that you should benefit from the union protecting your worker's rights and not pay your fair share for those services? If you don't pay your dues, you'll still get the benefits. How is that fair to the rest of your colleagues?


Thu, Feb 2, 2012 : 11:58 a.m.

Not really, because the union hides the info and the employer does not provide it. Ann Arbor school employees get a union signup form when they start work. No info explaining their rights. No info about the breakout of the fees. Nothing on the union website. District says they just take out of pay what union tells them to. Employee has no say in the matter.


Thu, Feb 2, 2012 : 1:32 a.m.

Just more slick Rick only now he is thinking about re-election.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Wed, Feb 1, 2012 : 11:42 p.m.

Not exactly a profile in courage, Governor Snyder. Good Night and Good Luck


Wed, Feb 1, 2012 : 7:27 p.m.

If Rick signs the bill, he is toast and he knows it. This may be the straw that gets the recall hitting on all eight cylinders, just like Wisconsin. Their recall turned in 1 million signatures and only needed 550,000.

Ron Granger

Wed, Feb 1, 2012 : 5:33 p.m.

A better name for this is "right to get fired", or "right to be a drone". This is just another effort to strip the few worker protections. For most, Michigan is an "at will" employment state. They can fire you at any time. And yet, you are expected to have all sorts of loyalty to your employer, giving weeks notice before leaving, signing non-compete agreements that restrict where you can next work, etc.


Wed, Feb 1, 2012 : 11:31 p.m.

I am not arguing for right to work status in MI. But I see some workers that take every advantage of their employer. It should be a two way street. I missed less work in 45 years of working than most miss in a year. Just saying don't make the workers or the employers out to be saints.

Dog Guy

Wed, Feb 1, 2012 : 5:16 p.m.

Our governor wins the Red Green award for "saying those three little words which men find so hard to say: 'I don't know.'"

David Briegel

Wed, Feb 1, 2012 : 7:58 p.m.

You mean he "kept his stick on the ice"?


Wed, Feb 1, 2012 : 5:07 p.m.

Glad to see Slick is feeling at least a little pressure to represent more than the 0.01%. I believe its a first. If he really represented this state he'd have condemned RTW in no uncertain terms.


Wed, Feb 1, 2012 : 7:58 p.m.

"Slick"? "represents 0.01%"? ...seriously? C'mon man... how ridiculous.


Wed, Feb 1, 2012 : 4:51 p.m.

I watched that hearing (Gov Snyder just finished) and was really impressed. A couple of times, legislators asked him extremely biased questions (both ways, Rep & Dem) and he was pretty clear about saying "Let's work together. There's enough common ground that we don't have to fight over the stuff we disagree about. We can get a lot of work done just on our areas of agreement" which is a positive, forward-thinking position to take. Even the positions he had taken that were not popular with the panel -- he 'fessed up to those, he didn't mealy-mouth disavow them. Good for him.


Wed, Feb 1, 2012 : 4:45 p.m.

At least Snyder has a clue on this...he knows it is political suicide to sponsor or endorse this RTW garbage in Michigan. If you might have noticed...the bigger unions sans MEA, chose NOT to help with the recall as a whole. Maybe a little horse trading behind the scenes I'd guess. No recall.


Wed, Feb 1, 2012 : 4:43 p.m.

The reason Synder didn't comment says it all about the right to work creates jobs. He knows this is a GOP tool to pit one worker against the other and reduce the workers voices through unions. You (the worker ) are nothing more than pawns in their political games. Look up stats on right to work states you will be surprised.


Wed, Feb 1, 2012 : 4:38 p.m.

Manuel I will give you a scenario and you tell us how the supervisor or anyone else is at fault. I go to work in the bucket of a boom truck. As a condition of employment I have to receive training concerning safety and use of a harness. I also have to sign an agreement that I will follow ALL safety rules and procedures. Now I go to work I have a supervisor that is constantly reminding me to be safe and follow the rules. He turns his back (he can't watch me every second( I remove my harness to adjust something and an unforeseen accident happens. HOW in the world do you blame the company or the supervisor? Again I am not insinuating that there are not companies and supervisors that are only concerned with production and not safety.


Wed, Feb 1, 2012 : 6:59 p.m.

Hank hank Please pray tell WHAT was unsafe about the scenario I described?


Wed, Feb 1, 2012 : 5:02 p.m.

You don't! Period! You deal with the aftermath of the workers tragic mistake and hope to God you don't have to report a death to the family. Once the physical wounds are healed you try to work with the employee to see if he can be helped with retraining and counseling. If he killed or hurt someone else there is little chance of re-employement. Please don't believe the hype that is spouted by disgruntled or non-union folks.


Wed, Feb 1, 2012 : 4:49 p.m.

So if you work in that unsafe place who is going to speak up for you? Nobody!

E. Manuel Goldstein

Wed, Feb 1, 2012 : 4:24 p.m.

So called 'right to work' is wrong for America. It is wrong for Michigan. A recent study, conducted by Roland Zullo at the Institute for Research on Labor, Employment, and the Economy (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor), has determined that unionization has a positive effect on workplace safety while Right-to-Work laws have a negative effect on workplace safety. The study, Right-to-Work Laws and Fatalities in Construction, analyzes extensive data from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI), Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW), Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS), gross domestic product (GDP), and the U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). Some of Zullo's conclusions are below… Construction unionization is associated with lower industry and occupation fatality rates. Moreover, the positive effect that unions have on reducing fatalities appears to be stronger in states without RTW laws. **** One hypothesis is that RTW laws result in the underfunding of safety training or accident prevention activities. **** A one percent increase in union density is associated with a 0.22 percent decline in the ratio of occupation fatalities. This estimated effect applies across all states and the District of Columbia. **** The rate of industry fatalities is 40 percent higher in RTW states, and the rate of occupational fatalities is 34 percent higher in RTW states. **** Indeed, results suggest that the estimated effect union density has on reducing fatalities does depend on state RTW laws…Thus, unions appear to have a positive role in reducing construction industry fatalities, but only in states without RTW laws…In states without RTW laws, a one percent increase in union density equates with a 0.58 percent decline in the occupation fatality ratio. This positive effect on worker safety is greatly reduced in states with RTW laws.

Ed Kimball

Thu, Feb 2, 2012 : 1:46 p.m.

@snapshot: because there are more employee rights than just safety. Unionization, though imperfect like other human institutions, is an effective way to protect those rights.


Thu, Feb 2, 2012 : 4:35 a.m.

So E....why are unions involved in so many more aspects of employee/employer issues not related to safety. Sounds like we need more safety training instead of unions.


Wed, Feb 1, 2012 : 6:58 p.m.

hank Please pray tell WHAT was unsafe about the scenario I described?


Wed, Feb 1, 2012 : 4:42 p.m. are mistaken. The current legislation "might" do that, and I use the term lightly, but RTW is a whole different animal. RTW allows employee's to work in a union shop with all the bennies, pay and perks without paying one red cent. The union reps even have to represent those obsconders or be fined. That my friend is just not fair.


Wed, Feb 1, 2012 : 4:37 p.m.

The right to work law has nothing to do with safety training and accident prevention activities. Mr. Roland Zullo's premise was false to begin with. The right to work law in Michigan is giving union members the choice to opt out of funding for political activities. The rest of the union dues are left in place to pay for safety classes, running a union organization.

Usual Suspect

Wed, Feb 1, 2012 : 4:16 p.m.

I'm not actually concerned with whether it creates jobs. It's simply a matter of freedom - it's just the right thing to do.


Thu, Feb 2, 2012 : 3:53 p.m.

@ Dave It's good that you stated "political ally on this issue". I admit I did miss that due to questioning my post; but I get it. I was answering your question "You're assuming...unfair?" What I said "was" a blanket statement that I tried to clear. However, I have worked in more industrial non-union shops and the safety was dismal at best compared to union. So...I guess we are splitting hairs on symantics. Not to's nice to know where you stand on RTW. For the record, I didn't mean my reply as an "attack"...God knows the Mods are on my case about that. I did want to engage in "vigoruos debate" though. We'll see ya around the forum Dave. Take care.


Wed, Feb 1, 2012 : 9:56 p.m.

Also... before you try boxing me into one political camp or another because of my criticism of your statement, know that you're attacking a political ally on this issue. I just don't harbor tolerance for inaccurate or misleading arguments on either side of the fence.


Wed, Feb 1, 2012 : 9:52 p.m.

I'm simply pointing out the implied correlation that you're making. Let me paraphrase your statement back to you: "...find a non-union shop to work in work in unsafe conditions fired at will because the boss doesn't like you." No matter what way you slice it, your statement still implies all non-union shops of being unsafe and unfair. (The argument of whether your statement referred to a single or any non-union shops is irrelevant, because you were making a categorical comparison; hence to *all* things belonging in that category.) While we're dissecting the logic behind the argument here, just because a union-shop might be safer with a 'safety professional', the converse is not necessarily true: "non-union shops are unsafe."


Wed, Feb 1, 2012 : 8:31 p.m.

@Dave Sorry I hit a nerve...and obviously I did because I never alluded to "all" non-union shops. Even union shops can be inherently dangerous. My point was working in a union shop with representation and a safety professional that dedicates their time to the cause is safer. That rep is there because there is dues money to help train that person and provide for a safer work place. If obsconders choose to not pay their dues then there will be much less, if any, training. Did you have an issue with my statement about being fired? Let me know and I'll do my best to explain that as well. Thanx...have a nice day.


Wed, Feb 1, 2012 : 7:53 p.m.

@shutthefrtdoor: You're assuming that all businesses that are non-union are inherently unsafe or unfair? That's a pretty bold (and frankly, ridiculous) statement to make. There are plenty on non-unionized industries that get along just fine.


Wed, Feb 1, 2012 : 4:45 p.m.

Your worried about freedom, how do you feel about the EFM law? Now that's a loss of freedom and a blow to democracy .


Wed, Feb 1, 2012 : 4:39 p.m.

The "right" thing to do is to find a non-union shop to work in. That way one can enjoy all the freedom they want; like the freedom to work in unsafe conditions and be fired at will because the boss doesn't like you. Please try it and let us know how it works for you. Thanx