Bill Rumors Spark Hundreds Protesting 'Right To Work'

By: Brian Johnson Email
By: Brian Johnson Email

Hundreds of union employees lined the halls of the capital building Thursday, during a day of session. The workers were anxious because word is spreading that a 'Right to Work' bill might be coming.

"We need to be able to have a say in what goes on in our work place," said Jeff Breslin, a registered nurse. "The people that run the businesses, and in my case in the hospitals, they are business people. And they know business and they have to run the hospital like a business to a certain point. There has to be a balance in there because we take care of patients."

Breslin and his colleagues are against any 'Right to Work' legislation.

"At the end of the day, we want the hospital, the business to be successful and we want the patients to be taken care of and that is best done through collective bargaining," said Breslin.

But Representative Mike Shirkey doesn't see it that way.

"This is all about workers freedom and workers choice. You know I believe it's a fundamental right to be free to associate and free to not associate, to me those are synonymous and equal," said Representative Shirkey, a Republican who serves in House District 65, representing Eaton Rapids, as well as parts of Jackson and Lenawee counties.

Shirkey says besides defeating proposal two, 'Right to Work' legislation is his number one priority. He says a bill is prepared and it will eventually hit the floor.

"The legislation, the language is prepared, but I have made a commitment to my caucus, that we wouldn't start that process, until we have all the 'i's dotted and 't's crossed. And all the interests aligned -- that we knew that it would be worth the effort," said Shirkey.

Ashley Forsberg, a registered nurse and member of the Michigan Nurse Association says 'Right to Work' has meant a $1,500 pay cut for workers and it would hurt the economy. She said 'Right to Work' would affect more than just nurses.

"There's 33 unions that are all respectively involved that would be hindered by this," said Forsberg.

Governor Rick Snyder says he's made it clear, 'Right to Work' is not on his agenda.

"It's always been a concern to me," said Snyder. "It's a divisive issue, and you just look at all the activity, there are a lot of important things that we are talking about otherwise, and now it sort of takes the oxygen out of the room."


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