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Republicans Ram Through "Right-to-Work” (for Less) Legislation in Michigan

Statement from IFT President Dan Montgomery

On Tuesday, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder signed so-called "right-to-work " legislation into law, after Republicans rammed the bill through the legislature during a lame duck session with no public input, no committee hearings, no floor debate and no real time for the public to review the proposed law.

Governor Synder has argued that this legislation will make Michigan more competitive. But I would like to ask him what price he is willing to pay for this supposed edge over the competition?

You don't have to look far (Indiana) to see that "right-to-work" is wrong for workers. Twenty-three states in the U.S. currently have similar laws. In those states, workers make about $1,540 less per year than workers in non “right-to-work” states. Right-to-work states can also “boast” that 28 percent more people lack health insurance, poverty rates are 18 percent higher and workplace deaths are a stunning 36 percent higher in their states than those in which workers have right to bargain with their employers.

This legislation is not about competition. Let’s call it exactly what it is: An effort by Michigan’s Republican-controlled legislature to weaken the labor movement and wage war on middle class workers in that state. Michigan has now joined the ranks of those states in which greedy corporations and right-wing politicians have schemed to mute the voices of working families and lower living standards for us all.

Organized labor exists to address issues of economic injustice, create a democratic voice in the workplace and advocate for important changes in our communities. Without that collective voice, employers have the ultimate power to set wages, hours of work, and terms and conditions of employment at will in a never ending drive to maximize profits at the expense of people.

In Michigan, the middle class will suffer the most from the irresponsible actions of Republican lawmakers and a short-sighted governor out to trump the competition. There is surely nothing to be gained worth such a high price.

In Solidarity,

Daniel J. Montgomery
| IFT President




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