90 Miles From Tyranny : Michigan House Approves Freedom of Choice Legislation

Friday, December 7, 2012

Michigan House Approves Freedom of Choice Legislation

The Michigan House has voted to approve right-to-work legislation for private-sector workers.

House members voted 58-52 to approve the measure Thursday afternoon as hundreds of union activists protested loudly in the state Capitol halls in Lansing. Only Republicans voted in favor.

The Senate is debating similar legislation. Minority Democrats are offering a series of amendments, all of which majority Republicans have voted down.

Gov. Rick Snyder and legislative leaders announced earlier Thursday they would try to rush the legislation to enactment in the session's final days.

Michigan voters in November rejected a measure that would have enshrined a right to collective bargaining in the state constitution, leading to renewed calls from state lawmakers to take up the right-to-work issue before the end of the year.

"Right-to-work" laws typically allow workers to opt out of paying union dues and bar requirements that an employee must join a union to work in a certain shop.

Supporters say the laws help attract or keep businesses, while opponents say they suppress worker wages and benefits and are aimed at undermining the financial stability of unions.

The Michigan Chamber of Commerce on Monday gave its support for a "right-to-work" law while the Metropolitan Affairs Coalition, which includes both business and labor interests, last week urged Michigan not to pursue such a law.

Michigan had the fifth highest percentage of workers in the country who are union members in 2011, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Read more: http://www.autonews.com/article/20121206/OEM01/121209911#ixzz2EMb2PwiI

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