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.