Michigan’s “Right to Work” Legislation
I first learned the word “euphemism” in high school civics class. The example the teacher gave was the term “right to work laws.” And all these decades later, rightwing droolbuckets are still pretending “right to work” laws are a good thing. The right to work — who could be against that? It’s all about Freedom. Choices.
As you know, the Michigan legislature — during their lame duck session — is in the process of passing right-to-work legislation. The legislation should be finalized this week, and Governor Rick Snyder has promised to sign it.
Earlier today, President Obama gave a speech to an audience of Daimler union employees:
“What we shouldn't be doing is trying to take away your rights to bargain for better wages. These so-called right-to-work laws, they don't have to do with economics, they have everything to do with politics. They're about giving you the right to work for less money.”
He also said Michigan is a perfect example of how labor unions have helped to “build a better America.”
Last week, Michigan Senate Democratic Leader Gretchen Whitmer blasted Republicans on the Senate floor:
“You must be kind of embarrassed right now. Your floor leader doesn’t know the rules and your leader doesn’t even want his name on this bill. Well I have a simple question: Why are we here today?…Lets be clear, this legislation is petty and vindictive politics at its most disgusting. You began this two year session by attacking workers and their families with your emergency managers legislation that raised the ire of people around the state and brought thousands of protesters here to Lansing. And now for one of your final pieces of business in this legislative calendar, you want to pass ‘right to work’ legislation that hurts workers and our economy by lowering employee wages, benefits, and workplace protection. Another bow to big business and wealthy special interests at the cost of our people.”
The Michigan AFL-CIO calls Michigan’s right-to-work legislation the “Freedom to Freeload bill” because it allows workers to get all the benefits of collective bargaining agreements without having to join a union and pay dues.
And the Detroit Free Press has an editorial urging Rick Snyder to put the “right to work” issue on the state ballot instead of signing the lame-duck legislation.