Michigan Governor Rick Snyder (R) signed controversial
right-to-work legislation Tuesday -- but the battle is not over yet
in what heretofore had been considered one of the country's most
Opponents of the law have 90 days after the legislature adjourns
to try and gather enough support to put the issue on the ballot in
2014. Until then, however, Michigan is the 24th right-to-work
state, and only the second state of its kind in the area known as
the "Rust Belt." Indiana became a right to work state in February
of this year.
James Sherk, senior policy analyst in labor economics for The Heritage
Foundation, says the fact that Michigan is now in the group is
"Michigan is one of the states with the longest history of the
labor movement," he tells OneNewsNow, "and to see them passing a
bill giving workers the choice of whether they want to belong to a
union is stunning."
People for and against right-to-work legislation turned out in
droves at the Capitol in Lansing leading up the vote, as did police
outfitted in riot gear. Supporters say the legislation will help
bring in more industry and create jobs. Critics, however, argue the
objective of right-to-work is to weaken organized labor.
Speaking Monday to factory workers in Michigan, President Barack
Obama criticized the idea, telling them their state should not be
"taking away your rights to bargain for better wages and working
conditions." Sherk says Michigan's right-to-work law does no such
"Right-to-work does not affect collective bargaining in any way,
except for making it impossible for unions to negotiate contracts
that force workers to pay union dues," he explains. "Everything
else -- wages, terms and conditions of employment, benefits,
everything else -- continues with collective bargaining as
this month, Vincent Vernuccio of the Michigan-based Mackinac
Center for Public Policy told OneNewsNow that "right-to-work has
been right for Michigan for a long time."