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Heritage: Obama wrong on right-to-work

Chris Woodward   (OneNewsNow.com) Wednesday, December 12, 2012

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 union-friendly states.

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 "stunning."

Sherk

"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 thing.

"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 before."

Earlier 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."

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