Unions Prepare to Fight Right-To-Work Legislation

By: Anthony Sabella Email
By: Anthony Sabella Email

Proposal 2 may have been defeated earlier this month, but as far as its supporters are concerned, the fight for working families is just starting.

The Michigan AFL-CIO is holding 17 meetings across the state this week. At the meetings, union supporters are discussing potential battles unions could face as lame duck sessions continue at the Capitol.

"There are rumors out there that they might take a look at something like a right-to-work legislation," said Tom Ferris, a former Lansing teacher and leader of the ALF-CI meeting in Charlotte. "We're concerned that it won't be anything good for Michigan or for Michigan's working families."

A right-to-work law would prohibit contracts that force workers to join unions. In addition, those workers would get the same benefits as union members, a big problem for unions.

It is a heated topic that had cooled off for a while...until now.

"The debate has started in Lansing about freedom to work and whether we should have this legislation," said Ari Adler, Press Secretary for Speaker of the House, Jase Bilge.

For right-to-work supporters, it has everything to do with with keeping Michigan competitive.

"We now have several border states that have gone with right-to-work legislation and they have seen success economically with attracting employers," said Adler.

Those against such legislation disagree.

"It those states where right-to-work has been the case, we found that income for working families has been decreased," said Ferris. "It hasn't created any jobs."

One thing is for sure. Now that the discussion has started, legislators don't expect it to stop.

"The Speaker is ready to continue that debate," said Adler. "It's just a question of whether we do it during lame duck or not."

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