Right-to-Work Becomes Law in Michigan
Thousands protest in Lansing
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted Dec 11, 2012 7:23 AM CST
Updated Dec 11, 2012 6:09 PM CST
Michigan State Police cruisers line the pedestrian walkway west of the state Capitol in Lansing, Mich., Monday, Dec. 10, 2012.   (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

(Newser) – It's a huge day for labor in Michigan. Gov. Rick Snyder has signed a pair of right-to-work bills that make it illegal to require the payment of union dues in order to work, the Detroit Free Press reports. The state's House of Representatives passed the bills earlier today. Some 12,500 people were in Lansing to protest—which may be the most demonstrators the state capitol has ever seen. "This is a national attack," United Auto Workers president Bob King declared, as the crowd beat drums and chanted. "Unions built the middle class of America."

Michigan was a surprise setting for the battle, the New York Times notes. Just last month, labor leaders were calling for collective bargaining to be written into the state Constitution. It seems to have backfired: Now, the UAW's home state is the 24th to ban required union dues—and a bellwether for future conservative efforts across the US. The battle comes after Snyder shifted position; the governor had once called the issue too thorny too address. Elsewhere:

  • President Obama had weighed in yesterday: "These so-called right-to-work laws, they don’t have to do with economics," he said. "They have everything to do with politics. What they’re really talking about is giving you the right to work for less money."
  • You can follow it all at the Free Press' live blog, or catch up on the background here.

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Dec 12, 2012 12:30 PM CST
So... I am on the fence on this one. I believe in peoples right to work regardless of the type of work or whether or not a union is involved. I do believe those who choose (choose) not to join a union would not be eligible for the pay and benefits the union has negotiated for. Some might say that the employer can use this to sqeeze out the union from the workplace and save money and assets. Shame on them. I have not seen in these posts (haven't read all of them...) the dark side of the union. I work at an electric utility and have seen first hand (contracted union labor on site) how the union attempts to protect the slacker. For instance... one union individual routinely and deliberately violated this site's safety policies and when the site proceeded to remove this individual the rest of the union workers on the project decided to slow down the progress until the executive branch drafted a letter to certain regulatory agencies that would have barred these people from working at these facilities for a long long time. I've seen this a few times at different venues. Then there is the voilence that comes with striking unions against those not in the union (non-covered workers) whose positions are not affiliated with a union... threats, damage to vehicles, etc. These workers do not benefit from union negotiations why prevent them from going to work? There is an article on the wage differences in union and non union workers (teachers, government etc) in some cases the union dues kind of make up the difference which makes the wages the same (with the exception of any benefits). Uh oh....here comes the boss... gotta go.
Dec 12, 2012 11:51 AM CST
The reason we have unions is because the bosses out there that act like slave masters and dictators made the people at the ford plant work 7 days a week then he got so much flack for so many people dying in the plant he had to cut it back to 5 days and a lot of workers were fired and disabled over that then if you got hurt at work you got fired, if you think you know a lot about unions watch the one on the 1934 truckers strike
Dec 12, 2012 10:27 AM CST
Smart thinking, Michigan. Unions are just another example of how democrat principles are flawed.