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Posted on Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 5:58 a.m.

Democrats in Washtenaw County condemn Republicans for fast-tracking right-to-work legislation

By Ryan J. Stanton

Thursday's passage of right-to-work legislation by Republicans in the Michigan House and Senate is stirring up strong emotions in Washtenaw County.

State Rep. David Rutledge, D-Superior Township, expressed his frustrations shortly after the first bill made it through the House in a 58-52 vote.

"This bill is nothing more than an attempt to erode workers' rights," he said. "At the 11th hour of the legislative session, in the final days of the 2011-2012 term when we should be focusing on moving our state forward, this plan is about Republican leadership retaliating against their political adversaries."

David_Rutledge_ headshot_2010.jpg

David Rutledge

The legislative package the Republicans hope to finish up and ship to Gov. Rick Snyder's desk by next week would give private and public sector workers the right to avoid paying union dues.

In other words, it would be illegal to require financial support of a union as a condition of employment.

Snyder and Republican leaders argue workers should have the choice whether to financially support a union.

But Democrats see it as an attack on the middle class and a case of political payback after Michigan labor groups coalesced around Proposal 2 on the state's ballot last month.

Snyder's decision to put right-to-work on his agenda in the lame duck session marked a change of course from his previously stated position.

When asked by in October if right-to-work was on his agenda, Snyder responded: "I've been very consistent that I didn't want right-to-work on the table. It's a divisive issue. So I think I've done a very good job for the last couple years of making right-to-work a non-issue."

Snyder has pointed the finger at labor unions, saying they made right-to-work an issue with Proposal 2, which would have enshrined collective bargaining rights in the state's constitution. The measure failed with 57 percent of Michigan voters casting ballots against it on Nov. 6.

And now right-to-work is on a fast track to becoming the law of the land in Michigan, considered the birthplace of the American organized labor movement.

State Rep. Jeff Irwin, D-Ann Arbor, said he found it disheartening to see Republicans playing up such a divisive issue during the lame-duck session when major issues are jammed through under a time crunch, rather than thoroughly discussed. He cited statistics that show employees in right-to-work states make 3.2 percent less than workers in free-bargaining states, or about $1,500 less per year.

"They are also less likely to have health care or pension benefits," he wrote in an email on Thursday afternoon. "In an economy that is driven primarily by spending, reducing workers' discretionary income could actually result in job losses because consumer demand decreases."


Jeff Irwin

Republicans, however, said the bills are not anti-union. Snyder and legislative leaders denied opponents' contention that the bills were designed to weaken unions by depriving them of funds needed to bargain effectively or were retaliation for the ballot initiative, which organized labor spearheaded. They said a "freedom to work" law would make unions more responsive to members' needs and give employees freedom to decide whether to accept union representation.

"This does not change collective bargaining and this is not anti-union," House Speaker Jase Bolger said. "It is pro-worker."

An estimated 17.5 percent of workers in Michigan are members of unions. The bills working their way through the Legislature cover all public and private workers except police and firefighters.

The Legislature's actions on Thursday sparked outrage from U.S. Rep. John Dingell, D-Dearborn, who chalked it up as "heavy-handed union busting."

He called it "absolutely appalling" and said Snyder would do well not to sign the measure into law because it reflects the "skewed priorities of right-wing radical Republicans who are hell-bent on destroying the middle class." He said the labor movement in Michigan helped build the country's middle class and becoming a right-to-work state would undo years of hard-fought progress.

"I cannot condemn this bill strongly enough and consider it blatant kowtowing to special interests who don't blink twice when shipping jobs overseas and sticking it to working American families," Dingell said. "It's also disgraceful that Democrats were locked out of the Legislature and pepper spray was used on protesters to ensure this bill's passage."

The AFL-CIO estimated about 3,000 demonstrators were in and around the state Capitol on Thursday to protest the right-to-work legislation. Police arrested several protesters, sprayed mace at them, and even took steps to lock down entrances to the building. That only lasted until labor representatives filed suit and won a temporary injunction to reopen the doors.

The Washtenaw County Democratic Party decried what it perceived as a thwarting of the democratic process after House Bill 4054 was considered without a committee hearing or public testimony. The bill includes an appropriation, making it referendum-proof if signed into law.

"The people of Michigan deserve to have a voice in this process," said Party Chairman Cleveland Chandler. "The democratic process cannot simply be abandoned at the whim of the majority party. But Republicans should know that the people of Michigan will not forget, and while they may be silenced on this important issue, they will not be silenced when it comes time to vote.”

Ann Arbor Democrat Adam Zemke, who takes over the 55th District state House seat in January, also blasted Republicans for fast-tracking right-to-work in lame duck.

"So-called right-to-work legislation doesn't create jobs, drives down earnings for working families, and brings to Michigan the needless political battles seen in Ohio and Wisconsin," Zemke said. "To put it plainly, right to work is wrong for Michigan."

The Michigan Chamber of Commerce took a difference stance, agreeing with Snyder and the Republican leaders in the Lansing that right-to-work is good public policy that will protect all employees from being forced to join a union and pay dues against their will.

The chamber believes signing right-to-work into law will help create and retain jobs and improve Michigan's economic competitiveness.

Rutledge said it's a question of fairness.

"This plan deprives labor organizations of the right to fairly collect dues from all members who directly benefit from the bargaining process, inevitably forcing unions to advocate for and represent workers' needs without adequate resources," he said. "It's a right to free-load bill."

Under a right-to-work policy, Rutledge said, workers who choose to pay union dues are forced to subsidize representation for their co-workers who don't pay dues. He said studies by various nonpartisan organizations, including the Economic Policy Institute, demonstrate that right-to-work policies result in lower wages and poor benefits for all workers, union and nonunion alike.

U.S. Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., released a statement urging Snyder to reconsider his support for the measure, which he predicts will splinter the state and harm its working families.

"The combined efforts of labor and management have been crucial to the rebound of our auto industry," he said. "That's why it is so disappointing that the governor and Republicans in the Michigan Legislature have chosen this moment to take this destructive step."

Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for Reach him at or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's email newsletters.


Debra Adams

Tue, Dec 11, 2012 : 10:40 p.m.

The real upset here is the way things were done. I feel like I am living in a communist state.


Sun, Dec 9, 2012 : 12:06 a.m.

The behavior of the Republicans is inexcusable. The way they jammed this down the throats of Michiganians revealed them as the thugs they are. Shameful.


Sat, Dec 8, 2012 : 10:28 a.m.

As usual: we're given something we're not even sure will work. Republicans say "right to work" helps the state economy. Democrats say it will weaken a vital part of the state economy (our "middle class workers"). NEITHER side provides us supporting comparative data! All we get is positIve and negative "spin" on the matter - STOP SPINNING US! If Gov. Snyder has been consistently against this idea - he should have supporting data for his position - period. Are we to trust politicians of either side if they treat us like children every time they do something they WANT to do themselves? This is not an acceptable way of running a government. If the unions have supporting data for their view of this law: they should have supporting data. And maybe we, the citizens and voters - should be demanding the supporting data from either side. That is: accurate data (aka, information) should be the first thing we think about when we're having to make decisions. Not "which side am I loyal to?"

Joe Kidd

Sat, Dec 8, 2012 : 4:02 p.m.

I agree with your first paragraph in general. Politicians on both side spew information but do not explain the hows and why they think it will work. Republicans say lowering taxes will create jobs but how do we know an employer will hire more or put the money in his pocket or increase the pay of his current employees? I would prefer tax deductions for companies that can show they hired more employees, enough to earn the deduction. Democrats want to raise taxes and their only job increasing program is to create public jobs with our taxes or invest in companies like Solyndra while simply hoping they survive. This is ludicrous, no private business should get subsidies, they must rely on investors who will invest if they believe a business is profitable. I do not think unions have supporting data. If you search online you will find that the majority of states doing well post recession are RTW states and states with lower business taxes. Snyder should never have said he was against RTW consideration.

Ben Petiprin

Sat, Dec 8, 2012 : 9:57 a.m.

It's amazing to me how people can be persuaded to support something that is so directly against their own interests. Why does this work? Do you want to be a part of Team Elephant so badly? Why does the same marketing scheme that made Twilight popular (Team Edward vs. Team Jacob) work so well on grown adults? I MIGHT be psyched about an increase of access to jobs, if the trend of the last decade hadn't been the gradual dehumanization of unskilled labor. For instance, why in god's name do I have to fill out a psychological evaluation to be a cashier at Best Buy? No joke, I've filled out applications for janitor jobs that demand a cover letter. This is another swipe. They wanna compete with China by slowly breaking us down to that level. I could care less about where the country ranks in manufacturing if they have to chain me to a sewing machine to boost the numbers. Don't confuse buzz terms like "economic growth" with your actual quality of life.

Ben Petiprin

Sun, Dec 9, 2012 : 1:49 a.m.

First of all bud, you don't know me. Me and my whole family are broke so don't try to make any kind of class insinuations. From the subtext of your opinion, i take you for some kind of doctor or at least one of those dirty astronauts. If you're anything less, you're brainwashed for thinking the way you do. Businesses abuse their workers already, and you think things will get better if union representatives are weakened? I can't find a job that will employ me for more than 25 hours a week, because it's more profitable for businesses to hire only part timers. My dad got fired as a security guard for trivial reasons and K Mart is out to fire my uncle. Not because he is part of a union, but because he's been there longer than most and makes a bit more than entry level people. Explain to me how this Right to work stuff would do anything but make life worse...


Sat, Dec 8, 2012 : 10:59 p.m.

Quality of life is an individual thing. I am glad that yours is not so tightly linked to economics. Others people are a little more in need of an income.

Eat Local A2

Sat, Dec 8, 2012 : 5:07 a.m.

Democrats love democracy as long as it's going their way. Apparently though, they do believe in some kind of state autonomy or at least exceptionalism, since elections apparently have consequences according to the word of their national lord and savior--but not in Michigan. I've never heard such completely vapid rhetoric and mouthing off. Face it, freedom to choose one's associations is supported by a majority of almost every demographic. It's like the old bromide--you love humanity but hate human beings. Just because you serve the interests of the union does not mean you are serving workers' interests. People understand your schtick, it is so 20th century. We are politely moving on past your worn-out routine !!!


Sat, Dec 8, 2012 : 3:48 a.m.

And Democrats and unions played it ethically trying to shove proposition 2 down our throats with misleading propaganda in a speedy and expensive manner? How hypocritical can you get?

Joe Kidd

Sat, Dec 8, 2012 : 1:10 a.m.

Question: Can this law fail? If it fails what would happen. Seems to me the only way it could fail is if it does not create new jobs. Or if it fails the union jobs will still be in place. So isn't it worth a try? If it fails nothing will happen, it will not attract jobs and hey, let's face it, Michigan is not attracting jobs right now anyway.

Joe Kidd

Sat, Dec 8, 2012 : 12:41 a.m.

If only 17.5% of Michigan workers are union workers, why is this such a big deal? 82.5% are non union workers. Why should 17.5% of the employed have any impact on this? If this figure is correct, it seems as though unions are not so popular anymore.

Joe Kidd

Sat, Dec 8, 2012 : 4:16 p.m.

Here is the article West, as you can see not all RTW jobs are low wages:

Joe Kidd

Sat, Dec 8, 2012 : 4:09 p.m.

No Westfringe you are incorrect. I posted yesterday, I think here, that a VW plant in Tennessee (that Michigan was a finalist for in 2006 but lost because of unions) now has over 3500 workers who make over $19/hour after three years, get health insurance and a 401(K) retirement plan. That pay rate is over $40k after 3 years. Also "lower wages" is a term you should never use. You have to look at cost of living. In San Francisco, your pay it astronomical but so is your rent. My two daughters were in a 4 bedroom apartment with two other renters. Monthly rent was $3600 per month. Two times my mortgage payment. Higher wages? Yeah, sure but you still can struggle. Look at low wages nobody would take a job or stay in it unless there are no other jobs that pay more.


Sat, Dec 8, 2012 : 3:51 a.m.

wesfringe your "fact' are misleading and do not reflect the many variables that make your statement inacurate. You are misinformed.


Sat, Dec 8, 2012 : 2:23 a.m.

RTW states have lower wages and less benefits across the board. Doesn't matter if you are in a union or not.


Sat, Dec 8, 2012 : 12:08 a.m.

"This bill is nothing more than an attempt to erode workers' rights," he said. "At the 11th hour of the legislative session, in the final days of the 2011-2012 term when we should be focusing on moving our state forward, this plan is about Republican leadership retaliating against their political adversaries." Rutledge's statement makes no sense at all. Passing this increases workers rights, the workers who want a job and do not want to move to a state with jobs. And it moves our state forward, just like the states that have moved forward and are attracting people due to their improved economy. I would rather have a non union factory in Michigan than no factory.


Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 9:07 p.m.

Any idea how this affects Federal Employees working in the state? I also think Rick can Say goodbye to the bridge and the light rail project. Obama will most likely have that money spent in another state.

Tom Whitaker

Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 8:33 p.m.

Revenge of the Nerd?


Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 7:33 p.m.

This would be more tolerable I think if those who chose to not be in a union didn't get the benfits of the union. The other thing is, if workers don't want a union they could vote against it when an attempt is made to form one at an employer, or they could do the same thing for an existing employer, have a vote among the represented parties to disband the union.


Sat, Dec 8, 2012 : 2:22 p.m.

Apologies in advance if this is a naive question...but can't the union bargain for benefits that would be confined to its members? Workers that chose not to join would not receive them and thus wouldn't be 'freeloaders,' as many here have called them. The employers might choose to mistreat these non-union employees by denying them reasonable terms of employment, but if they did, they'd lose them, and the unions would become stronger as a result. It would be stupid of management to act in a way that would make valuable employees (note: I said 'valuable') leave or choose to join the union --and thus strengthen a group standing in opposition to it, right? So can we not assume that non-union employees, unions, and management could achieve a modus vivendi with all parties free to act in what they judged to be their best interest? Even if you project a situation where most workers would be non-union and the company would exploit them by refusing to offer reasonable terms, isn't that just the sort of situation that gives birth to unions? Why not have them exist only where they're needed? I've paid maintenance fees to a union for years, and the union has achieved some benefits that I've enjoyed too, but I'd have preferred to have a choice. The union has used my fees to support causes and candidates that I had serious disagreements with, and I had no real say in the matter. I've also watched the teachers' union protect teachers that delivered unspeakably poor education to my children. Until unions (1) become more open to diversity of political opinion and (2) figure out a way to prune their own deadwood, they're going to meet some opposition from people who might otherwise be fairly sympathetic.

Joe Kidd

Sat, Dec 8, 2012 : 12:44 a.m.

I think the benefit thing is the idea. I for one, do not need any benefits other than vacation time. Some kind of retirement plan would be fine, but I can contribute with my pay to my existing accounts. But I can't do that in a job where you have to be in the union.


Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 7:24 p.m.

Ultimately Michigan felt it had to do something to make the state more competitive. With Indiana's recent decision to become a RTW state, there was pressure for Michigan to be more business friendly. We had already seen companies leave Michigan for Indiana (

Joe Kidd

Sat, Dec 8, 2012 : 12:45 a.m.

Not to mention all the states where there are jobs.

Top Cat

Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 7:16 p.m.

Unions don't create jobs.


Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 6:07 p.m.

The shrillness of the left is appalling


Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 5:58 p.m.

Gee, I though Republicans supported capitalism and opposed those who took advantage of goods and services without payment.

Lonnie Scott

Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 5:15 p.m.

Lets call this for what it is. Snyder is a push over who is neither "tough" nor "moderate" like he claimed to be during his campaign. There is no doubt that the Chamber reversing course and Snyder changing his mind "overnight" are connected. When you elect a businessman to an office like Governor of course he will pander to his business friends. Everyone remembers that $1.8 Billion tax break to business paid for by a $1.3 Billion tax increase on seniors and cuts to Education, right? Still not 1 job created by that policy. But, what it all comes down to is his Bridge. Wait and see, the legislature will now have enough votes to pass his second span to Canada and to think all this time all it took was selling out the Middle Class.


Sat, Dec 8, 2012 : 10:53 p.m.

What are taxes for? They are to pay for things that we through our representative and the legislative process decide we wish to pay for. It is not the government's money to pay for anything. To say the government "paid" for a tax cut on business by increasing tax on seniors is wrong. The process is we decide that we want a government service and then figure out how to fund it. If we do not want to pay for a service then we cannot have it. It is a real disconnet to say we want something but that we wish someone else to pay for it. The tax bill should be the total federal budget /the population.


Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 4:36 p.m.

I certainly paid my share of union dues with no representation in the past. No one should be forced to hand over a percentage of their hard earned pay.


Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 4:34 p.m.

And here I thought all Democrats were "pro-choice."

David Bardallis

Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 4:22 p.m.

Somebody call the Wahhh-mbulance.


Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 4:05 p.m.

RTW states have lower wages ACROSS THE BOARD. RTW states require MORE tax payer support for citizens. RTW states have the WORST education systems. RTW states offer less benefits to their workers. All you corporate drones better read up, this effects you too wether your in a union or not.

Joe Kidd

Sat, Dec 8, 2012 : 4:12 p.m.

Westfringe, is that bad? The U of M is first in federal university research spending. Is that bad? What is your point in re to federal spending?


Sat, Dec 8, 2012 : 2:34 a.m.

Also Texas and Florida are in the top ten for Federal spending.


Sat, Dec 8, 2012 : 2:28 a.m.

It's called corporate welfare, Walmart for example. They pay extremely low wages with no benefits and the Fed (our taxes) go to supporting these people while the upper crust roll in the dough (sorry, hungry).

Joe Kidd

Sat, Dec 8, 2012 : 12:55 a.m.

Florida has no state income tax at all. Texas has no state income tax. They are both RTW states. How can they require more tax payer support? According to this article, the 11 best states to find a job, 7 of the 11 are RTW states: More jobs mean more tax income for the states that have income tax. Your post makes little sense unless you can post some facts in support.

ypsi 1

Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 3:34 p.m.

Union busting and Right-to-Work will never save jobs. After Oklahoma passed RTW Ford still moved their plant to Mexico. Now workers have minimum wage opportunities that don't come close to paying the bills. Bush brought us recession because of his tax cuts for the wealthy & available jobs went away as big money exported the jobs that made America strong after WWII. Still and Republicans continue to support big money and hoodwink their middle class members into thinking their programs will cause job growth. They don't. They only cause obesity of the wallets of the 1%.


Sat, Dec 8, 2012 : 10:39 p.m.

the tax cuts were for everyone not just the rich. I agree it was wrong to cut taxes for everyone at a time when we were pursuing 2 wars but get your facts straight.

Joe Kidd

Sat, Dec 8, 2012 : 12:56 a.m.

RTW attracts jobs:

Joel A. Levitt

Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 3:29 p.m.

Governor Snyder now intends to sign the write-to-work bill that would limit labor and management's ability to negotiate and to freely enter into mutually acceptable contracts. It has been six months since the Governor's tax reform program has gone into effect without noticeably attracting businesses to Michigan, while crippling our educational system and increasing the distress of seniors and poor children. The time has come to begin a new campaign to recall Governor Snyder.

Cole Bertsos

Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 7:14 p.m.

Joel - Your comment was blocked by mistake, but thank you for pointing that out! As always, thanks for reading and for commenting, as well!


Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 4:15 p.m.

LOL. Sore losers.


Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 3:18 p.m.

I was born in Ypsi and now live in Indiana. I still own property in Ypsi and Ann Arbor and visit the area once a month. One thing I notice driving through Indiana and Ohio on the way here is all of the building of factories and businesses. Why do I not see that in southest Michigan? All I see are clesed factories, businesses as well as boarded up homes. Is it becuase this part of the state is a union stronghold and property taxes so high? Could it be just maybe the cost of doing business in other state s is lower?


Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 7:49 p.m.

Well Bob, it shows Indiana and Ohio are doing better jobs of addressing the econmic problems facing the midwest. People are screaming that the RTW work legislation will destroy the ecomomy of Michigan. How then, do you destroy something that was destroyed along time ago by Michigan's archaic economic and union hiring policies? RTW alone will not cure all of the economic ills facing Michigan but it is certainly a step in the right direction. The city of Ann Arbor is not a true representation of the state of Michigan. Take a drive to Detroit, Flint, Saginaw, or even the east side of Ypsi. That is the reality facing Michigan.

Rob Pollard

Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 7:32 p.m.

What are you talking about - this bill was about RTW, not taxes. Ohio is not a right to work state and Indiana wasn't one a few months ago (and presumably you have been driving through that state for more than just the past few months) - so what are trying to prove? If it's that RTW adds more jobs (well-paying or otherwise) your experience doesn't show it. Now, if you drove up through Alabama or SC, two states long with RTW status, that might mean something.


Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 3:06 p.m.

Democratic leaders are really unhappy because that will mean less money for them from union contributions, has nothing to do with wages and benefits, governments and public entities will not loose anything, they continue to get fat with our tax monies and have jobs for life regardless of economy. Now democrats leaders will try to convince Obama next week not to fund federal money for large projects ( Bridge & transportation), that'll help Michigan's economy. Another good job done by union extortionist.


Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 3:05 p.m.

Please publish a list of monthly dues charged by the major unions . Auto workers? Teachers? Public employees? This should be public information as the public is paying the bill.

Joe Kidd

Sat, Dec 8, 2012 : 4:13 p.m.

Why can't you look it up yourself? People, stop asking reporters to look up stuff for you.


Sat, Dec 8, 2012 : 1:24 p.m.

The public is paying what bill?

John Q

Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 5:25 p.m.

The public isn't paying the bill. The workers who belong to those unions pay the bill.

G. Orwell

Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 2:25 p.m.

Democrats are more at fault for the plight of the unions and the middle class than anyone else. Clinton/Gore drove a stake through the heart of the unions and the working class when they rammed through NAFTA, CAFTA, and all the "free trade" agreements since that resulted in millions of good manufacturing jobs going to Mexico, China, etc. Clinton also repealed Glass-Steagal Act that has led to the financial collapse we see today. The Democrstic leadership had done more to destroy the middle class than the Republicans. Obama is doing the same thing with Obamacare (and he keeps bailing out big banks with trillions of tax payer money). Major corporations will make their works into part time (less than 30 hrs.) to avoid paying the expensive Obamacare insurance. Democrat claim they are doing things to help the middle class but they are actually destroying the middle class. Unfortunately most people fall for the lies and are fooled. The Democratic leadership must hate the unions and the middle class. Look at what they do, not what they say.

G. Orwell

Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 2:58 p.m.

Apologize for the bad grammar. Not easy typing fast on my cell phone.

G. Orwell

Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 2:35 p.m.

Apologize for the bad grammar. Typing fast on my cell phone isn't easy.

Basic Bob

Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 2:24 p.m.

Rick Snyder, please veto this legislation and I will vote for your second term. Then again, who will the Dems trot out for governor in 2014? They could hardly do worse than last election but that won't stop them from trying. I bet Virg Bernero is still available and still unelectable.

Joe Kidd

Sat, Dec 8, 2012 : 1:01 a.m.

If this law attracts business will you still vote against him? Even if you vote against him you can consider my vote as the one that cancels yours out. I have been frustrated with Gov Snyder for two things, signing the motorcycle helmet recall and not doing this employment legislation earlier. It is worth a try isn't it? If it doesn't work, we will still have the jobs where the unions are.

Dog Guy

Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 2:18 p.m.

Levin, Zemke, Chandler, Dingell, Irwin, Rutledge all fear possible lessening of the source of their political power: my union dues. It is a wonderful system which also includes exacting taxes to give to me. I do not admire politicians and I don't see how this economic perpetual-motion machine can continue to operate, but my current situation is advantageous. For now, life is good.


Sat, Dec 8, 2012 : 1:23 p.m.

Aren't you supporting socialism if you belong to a union but rely on others' financial contributions to keep your salary and benefits?


Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 2:12 p.m.

What on Earth is wrong with a workers right to choose? There are two sides to every coin. Back in the day it was necessary to protect the worker from the employer. Now protecting the worker from the unions whose over the top collective bargaining has led to less jobs...not more. So protecting the worker from the union has also become a valid response. Especially when workers choice is threatened. Why not let the worker decide If and how they prefr to be represented? After all, It's their job.


Sat, Dec 8, 2012 : 1:22 p.m.

Give a recent, credible example of a worker who had to be protected from their union.

John Q

Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 5:25 p.m.

Workers already have a right to choose. This is about allowing workers to freeload off the union's work.

Jeffersonian Liberal

Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 2:06 p.m.

Will the funding arm of the Democrat party dry up? I image the Goonions will be implementing some new strong arm tactics to get the non members to pony up.


Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 2:39 p.m.

Dick DeVos has a lot of bake sales.

Unusual Suspect

Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 2:14 p.m.

Let them have bake sale fund raisers now like the rest of us have to.


Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 2:05 p.m.

Hi wonder how much money Dick DeVos had to shell out for this piece of garbage legislation?


Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 1:51 p.m.

this is good, and about choice, that is all. If a union provides VALUE, people will join, if not, they wont. I for one wouldnt want my $$ going to a union that gives money to causes/politics that I do not support. This WILL bring jobs to our state. wait and see...


Sat, Dec 8, 2012 : 1:21 p.m.

Do your homework. Workers will still be able to join unions, just without paying.

Joe Kidd

Sat, Dec 8, 2012 : 12:38 a.m.

Wrong Semper Fi. Look up the states that are recovering, where jobs are. This is what they do there. Look at this: Is that what you call minimum wage? It may seem low, but I bet the cost of living is low there too. $19.50/hour is $40,560 per year without any OT. 3,350 jobs, health care and 401(k) retirement plan. Is that what you call no benefits? Michigan lost this plant because of unions in 2006. I would rather have a non union job than be unemployed with a union card in my wallet. The article says VW needs another plant. Michigan now could have a chance to get it and some of our unemployed former auto workers might be able to work there. Or they can move to Tennessee.


Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 4:05 p.m.

you'll see'll see... if you want to talk loss of benefits, see what happens when obummercare fully kicks in...


Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 2:38 p.m.

Yeah, it will bring minimum wage jobs with few, if any, benefits. And the employee will end up paying higher fees and personal taxes because companies will be paying virtually nothing.

Unusual Suspect

Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 1:13 p.m.

"I've been very consistent that I didn't want right-to-work on the table. It's a divisive issue. So I think I've done a very good job for the last couple years of making right-to-work a non-issue." And he did. But then the union fired the first shot in a new war, and tipped their hand to their ultimate intent, and a fence had to be built to ensure liberty. This is the fence.

Tim Belcher

Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 8:50 p.m.

Let me reiterate for you "suspect", what a bunch of who-ha!


Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 4:58 p.m.

Lets put to rest this meme. The Unions begged Snyder for a statement that he would veto RTW. He refused and if you look at the video that surfaced recently, he told a newspaper board before the election that he would sign RTW. He would not commit, so they went with Prop 2. I wish they'd have spent the PAC funds defeating more GOPers.


Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 1:12 p.m.

The Governor has lied to us. Today I am ashamed to call myself a Michigander.

Superior Twp voter

Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 3:12 p.m.

And where have you been during Obama's administration? No lies there, eh?

Unusual Suspect

Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 1:55 p.m.

I am extremely happy and proud!

David Cahill

Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 1:04 p.m.

If anyone doubted that Snyder and his allies were different from other right-wing Republicans, here is the proof that there is no difference. Just another Republican attack on ordinary people.


Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 4:04 p.m.

I see it just the opposite the Union attack on ordinary people. The unions have evolved into protecting bad workers and putting good workers at risk. They drive up prices through their wage increases. And if you want proof look at GM & Crysler now that UAW is in charge - what are they hiring new workers at $12 an hour plus they have to pay their hourly dues to the UAW.


Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 1:01 p.m.

As someone whose job fall under a union, I don't have a problem if someone does not want to join our union and pay union dues. However, if you choose not to pay dues, you should NOT automatically get the same benefits (e.g. pay increases, health care, etc...) that our union negotiates for...a.k.a. freeloading. You should have to go to your superior and negotiate on your own. Considering at my job (for one of our state's public universities) some of my co-workers who work in engineering cannot even buy a $5 box of rags without our general manager getting down their throat about spending $5, I say good luck to those of you who think you can do better on your own. I will gladly continue supporting my union.

Joe Kidd

Sat, Dec 8, 2012 : 12:23 a.m.

I would have no problem with that Sparky. I have been in two unions and both were bad experiences. Lousy unions, lazy workers and absolutely worthless fighting management. It was disgusting to pay them dues. In regard pay, a non union worker may be satisfied with a job that pays less than the union jobs. A lower paying job is better than no job at all. The benefits can be dismissed if, say, a spouse can provide health care, etc. But lacking this law there can't be non union jobs in a workplace that is unionized. Ben wages in other states may not be a factor at all, since it can be cheaper to live in some areas. For example in Florida, your heating bills are lower, you do not have to buy winter clothes, snow blowers, you don't pay state income tax. Thus you do not have some of the expenses you do in other states. So wages from state to state can vary despite union/non union jobs.


Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 4:55 p.m.

Usual suspect, that's why wages are higher in RTW states, oh wait, no they are not, they are lower. Try again...

Unusual Suspect

Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 1:11 p.m.

" However, if you choose not to pay dues, you should NOT automatically get the same benefits (e.g. pay increases, health care, etc...)" Don't worry, they won't. They will get better benefits and more pay because they are less of a headache to their employers and greater flexibility. An employer will be able, for example, to go to a non-union employee and ask them to change to another job because of a new need opening up at the business. A union employee would refuse, and the union will back him up, because it's not in his job description. A non-union employee will see this as an opportunity for growth and advancement and jump at the it, and the employer won't need to get any union boss's permission to do it.

Tim Hornton

Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 12:52 p.m.

If this goes through the dems will lose a lot of money in the long run because the Unions won't have as much to give them. This all comes down to Money.


Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 4:54 p.m.

Cinnabar, you do realize you can quit now, and pay the agency fee, which covers only the cost of your negotiations and representation? I've worked in locations where folks have done this for religious reasons. Sounds like you want the benefit of a Union without paying for it...freeloader.


Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 2:35 p.m.

And that's the reason I want out of the union. If the union gave equally to both parties I might feel different. I can't wait to tell the union not another penny from me for the democrat party.


Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 1:48 p.m.

you got that right...


Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 12:49 p.m.

I am hoping for a last minute compromise, but the word compromise has become a negative in political circles - look at Washington - Governor Snyder agrees to veto both the Right to Work and the Abortion bills and the Democrates agree to tackle public sector pensions and benefits, including retirement ages for workers. That way both sides do something they don't want to that in the long run is better for the whole state. But I am not holding my breath. Governor Snyder indicated that he did not want to see Right-to-Work, but the unions brought it up and then the UAW did not support the new bridge to Canada, indicating that they did not want a Republican Governor to have a "big win". Both sides are guilty here - there are no clean hands, a compromise on the agenda by both sides would be better - but it will not happen.


Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 12:22 p.m.

This sounds almost identical to what happened a couple of years ago regqrding healthcare bill at the national level. If you think the republicans are going to lay down for ever, well this is proof they will not.

John Q

Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 5:21 p.m.

Conservatives don't care about facts. The live in their alternative reality of FoxWorld.

Lonnie Scott

Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 5:10 p.m.

Wrong. The Healthcare bill had over 60 Legislative hearings, was discussed in DC and at town halls around the country (including multiple with John Dingell in Washtenaw County) and took almost 2 years from the date it was introduced to final passage. Just because Rush Limbaugh and Fox News say that it was "fast tracked" does not make it so. Also, the Capitol in DC was never locked, people weren't maced and/or arrested and certainly the bill wasn't introduced and passed on the same day...


Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 12:10 p.m.

The Unions leadership tried to foce thru prop 2 and enshrine unions pay as a un-touchable sacred cow. Snyder was trying to leave this issue alone, but the unions decided on war tactics and should not be surprised there is a counter attack. Personally I have no problem with letting the workers decide. If a union is providing real benefit, it should have no problem getting most of the workers to join. If it is just making union management well off and pumping money into politicians pockets and not doing well by the workers, it should die.

John Q

Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 5:20 p.m.

Wrong. The unions still have to represent the freeloaders who don't want to pay union dues.

Unusual Suspect

Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 5:08 p.m.

"You must negotiate for yourself, your seniority doesn't count in layoffs, you negotiate your own time off, benefits, etc... and, God forbid, you get in a jam at work, you hire your own attorney." That's exactly how most of us live our lives. We take responsibility for ourselves and our career. It's a strange concept, we know, but we love it. It's called "freedom." Some people don't want it - some people want to to be taken care of and pay other people to manage their careers for them, and they are still welcome to choose that path. The only thing that's changing is is now everybody can decide for themselves.


Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 4:51 p.m.

Me too, Greg. I also believe that if you choose not to join, you are barred from any participation in collective bargaining or representation by the Union. You must negotiate for yourself, your seniority doesn't count in layoffs, you negotiate your own time off, benefits, etc... and, God forbid, you get in a jam at work, you hire your own attorney. No union dues, no representation.

Unusual Suspect

Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 1:15 p.m.

sh1, so what you're saying is that people making choices is a good thing. Those of us in favor of workplace freedom agree.


Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 12:45 p.m.

"Force through"? You mean, put on the ballot so people could vote?


Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 11:56 a.m.

I guess time will tell, maybe it will all work out in the end. With that being said, it looks terrible how the Republicans did this though. Fast tracking it through before break and before many of them would be leaving their positions in the legislature. It also looks poor that they included a part in the legislation that states it can't be overturned by vote. This seems like a serious piece of legislation that should have been discussed and taken back to the people they represent for further discussion on how it might affect them. The whole thing wreaks of a "screw you" mentality by the Republicans and Snyder who lost in November.

Tim Belcher

Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 8:43 p.m.

This action has no similarity whatsoever to passage of the Affordable Care Act. For one, Obamacare was passed at the beginning of the session. Secondly, Mr. Obama did not profess to have "no interest in signing" the bill whereas Mr. Snyder mis-led the people of Michigan regarding his intentions. I guess from here on out I will not trust any republican ever to be honest and forthright.


Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 8:09 p.m.

Reminds me of the way the Affordable Care Act was passed. Let me guess, that was different.


Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 11:50 a.m.

With changing demographics, I just hope I live long enough to witness the inevitable end of this Republican Party. At least my children will inherit a better country once they're gone.


Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 1:46 p.m.

yeah, I too cant wait for a welfare gimme gimme gimme state!


Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 12:38 p.m.

Me too! I'm looking forward to one-party rule! Soooo much tidier....


Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 11:13 a.m.

Leftists support unions, not workers. Republicans want an economy that supports job growth. Job growth is what strengthens the middle class.

Tim Belcher

Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 8:38 p.m.

Keep taking those Happy pills Senior. What a bunch of who-ha

Ron Granger

Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 7:27 p.m.

Ah yes, the "Leftists". We must be constantly on guard, or the "Leftists" and "Communisists" will take over!