Governor Whitmer signs right to work repeal

Published: Mar. 24, 2023 at 1:53 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Friday, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed the ‘Restoring Workers’ Rights’ bill package in Michigan repealing Public Act 348 of 2012 commonly known as “right-to-work”.

House Bills 4004 deletes a provision prohibiting any public employee to join in or refrain from labor organization and collective bargaining. House Bill 4007 restores prevailing wage on all state projects. Senate Bill 34 deletes a provision prohibiting requirements to refrain from, join, or pay any dues or fees to, a labor organization, as a condition of employment and allows for collective bargaining.

“Today, we are coming together to restore workers’ rights, protect Michiganders on the job, and grow Michigan’s middle class,” said Governor Whitmer. “Michigan workers are the most talented and hard-working in the world and deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. These bills will protect health and safety, ensuring healthcare workers can put patient care ahead of profit, construction workers can speak up when there’s a safety issue, and employees can call attention to food safety threats and other problems. Let’s continue delivering for working people and ensuring Michigan is open for business.”

“Today, we are taking steps to ensure every worker can be respected and protected at work, retire with dignity, access health care that meets their needs, and support their family,” said Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist II.

According to a nonpartisan economic study, workers’ wages in states without strong worker protections are 3.1 percent—on average, $1,600—lower per year than in states with strong worker protections, after adjusting for differences in cost of living.

“After decades of anti-worker attacks, Michigan has restored the balance of power for working people by passing laws to protect their freedom to bargain for the good wages, good benefits, and safe workplaces they deserve,” said Ron Bieber, President of Michigan AFL-CIO. “Ten years ago, Governor Whitmer was standing side by side with well over ten thousand working people who showed up in Lansing to protest the devastating attack on their rights. Today, she has demonstrated yet again her unwavering commitment to putting working families first. After decades of attacks on working people, it’s a new day in Michigan, and the future is bright.”

“Service and care workers across Michigan are celebrating that once again we have the freedom to build strong unions so we can negotiate for good jobs that build thriving communities,” said Brandice Mullen, Vice President, SEIU Michigan. “Working Michiganders — Black, Latino, Asian and white — are reclaiming our seat at the table so we can speak with a united voice about the better future we all want for our children. Stronger unions give us a fair shot at holding corporations accountable so we can create more jobs with the wages, healthcare coverage, and retirement security that sustain families.”

“Right to work has always been wrong for Michigan. I would like to commend and thank the Michigan legislature and Governor Whitmer for doing the right thing for Michigan workers by repealing this anti-worker legislation,” said John Cakmakci, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 951 President.

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