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Dearborn Legislators: Right-to-Work Passage Unacceptable, Appalling

Two different versions of the legislation passed the Michigan House and Senate Thursday amid huge union protests in Lansing.

Just after right-to-work legislation passed the Michigan House and Senate, Dearborn legislators on Thursday were quick to label the passage as a cave-in to special interests, and hurtful for the state’s middle-class families.

"This is a very sad day for the hardworking men and women of Michigan,” Dearborn Democrat Rep. George Darany said in a statement Thursday after the house vote, which passed the legislation, 58-52. “These individuals have fought tirelessly for the safe working conditions and fair pay that we now enjoy. Unfortunately, the leadership in Lansing has clearly caved to special interests and corporate profits and has put the livelihood of our middle-class families in serious jeopardy.”

“My democratic colleagues and I remain committed to ensuring workplace safety, fair wages, and quality benefits for all of Michigan's citizens,” Darany added.

The legislation, if enacted, will prohibit the requirement of a worker to pay union dues as a condition of employment. Supporters, including Gov. Rick Snyder, say it will bolster the state economy. Opponents say it’s anti-union, and will lower wages.

The Senate passed a different version of the bill, 22-16, just hours later. Both the House and Senate votes fell mostly along party lines.

Dearborn U.S. Rep. John Dingell also spoke out against the legislation Thursday night, calling the passage “absolutely appalling.”

“Gov. Snyder would do well not to sign the measure into law because it reflects the skewed priorities of right-wing radical Republicans, who are hell-bent on destroying the middle class,” Dingell said in a statement. “The labor movement in Michigan helped build this country’s middle class, and this new bill will undo years of hard-fought progress by working men and women in this state.

“This is heavy-handed union-busting, pure and simple, and it’s an outrage.”

A protest raged on all day Thursday at the Capitol, where an estimated 2,500 union members and supporters from all across the state—including Dearborn’s UAW Local 600—rallied against right-to-work.

According to the Detroit Free Press, a move by house Democrats asking that the bill be reconsidered has delayed a vote in the senate on the house version of the legislation, so it’s unclear when a final vote will take place.

Gov. Snyder has vowed to sign the legislation immediately.

PC December 10, 2012 at 11:20 AM
What types of jobs? Also, how many of these jobs provide benefits the employee can afford to buy in to? How many residents in these (RTW) states depend on Medicaid or some other social program?
PC December 10, 2012 at 11:28 AM
I lived and worked in a RTW state 1997 - 1999 and can affirm that there is NO bargaining (I am a teacher and NEA did NOTHING for me). I chose NOT to join, as my wages, salary and working conditions were not union negotiated. Having said that, two years of 10 - 12 hour days following by more paperwork at home was all that I could take. My administrators were intelligent, articulate individuals with extremely high expectations and I felt fortunate to be assigned to their building. In the next breath, there was no way that I could sustain that kind of work schedule in such a challenging environment (urban Title I school), so I resigned. I was fortunate to have a spouse that could sustain me while I sought other employment, but several co-workers were not so fortunate. I worked with individuals who waitressed and worked retail on the weekends to make up for ridiculously low and flat (no raise for first four years) wages. Oh, in order to keep my teaching certificate, I was also required to complete 18 credit hours toward a master's degree before my provisional certification expired in five years. Hard to pay that tuition when one is struggling to live on such a low salary...
Keith Best December 11, 2012 at 12:47 PM
There is nothing wrong with offering a choice and that's what this legislation does. It's time for right-to-work.
Keith Best December 11, 2012 at 12:49 PM
What is wrong with providing a choice? That's what the legislation does. It needs to be passed. It's time for right-to-work.
Lee Jacobsen December 12, 2012 at 08:21 AM
PC, what does your choices have to do with right to work? You picked a teaching job that apparently was above your comfort zone, and exercised your right of free will' to leave. Didn't like the low wages? Move on to higher ones or start your own union to negotiate for higher pay. A fantasy? Your choice. Your master's degree will qualify you for higher wages, right? Obama will give you all kinds of educational entitlements, he promised didn't he? Your are lucky to have a spouse to support you, but blaming a low salary on Right to Work is like running out of gas and blaming the gas station. It is your responsibility to be qualified enough so an employer will offer what you are worth, and , if you don't have a meeting of the minds with one employer, then find another that appreciates you. You have the right to seek work where you want, and the right to seek out a pay arrangement via a union if you want. Of course, the other side has the right to agree with you if they like your logic, or shoo you on your way if they don't. All of this has little to do with Right to Work and unions, but oh well.......

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