Demonstrators have converged on the Michigan Capitol.
By Alex Kane
December 11, 2012
The bill passed 58-51, the first part of a two-step plan to prohibit both public and private workers from being required to pay for the costs of labor union representation. As AlterNet’s Joshua Holland explained , so-called “right to work” laws, which are being proposed in Michigan, “allows workers who choose not to join the union to take advantage of the union’s representation without chipping in to cover the costs. And that effectively defunds the union.” Salon’s Josh Eidelson explains further : “Contrary to much rhetoric – and some reporting – U.S. law already prevents workers from being required to join a union or pay dues, per se. The issue is whether non-members, whom the union is still legally required to negotiate for and represent at work, can be required to pay representation fees.”
The legislation that already passed concerned public workers, minus police and firemen–a page out of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s anti-union playbook. When Walker embarked on his anti-union drive, he too excluded police and firefighters from inclusion in his plan to strip workers of collective bargaining rights. The bill set to be voted on this afternoon concerns private sector workers, and Reuters reports that it “is expected to be debated and approved by the House later on Tuesday.”
Meanwhile, massive protests have erupted in Michigan over the law, which many say was rammed through quickly with no committee hearings. Governor Rick Snyder had previously said he would not sign a “right to work” bill, but he has apparently rescinded that promise.
“This is being forced down peoples’ throats,” one Michigan Democrat told the New York Times.