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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.

Tom December 07, 2012 at 01:45 PM
RTW has nothing to do with workers' rights and everything to do with union busting since they generally support Democrats. How is it fair that those who choose not to join the union and pay dues still receive the pay and benefits negotiated by the union? This is another example, along with the fireworks, motorcycle helmet laws and taxing pensions, of what happens when extremist republicans gain office.
Pam December 07, 2012 at 01:54 PM
Snyder isn't running for a second term.
bitsy08 December 07, 2012 at 02:37 PM
You mean, Pam, let's hope Snyder isn't running for a second term. I believe this bill needs to be voted down although I don't think it will be. We voted on this very issue and the majority voted against it. We also voted against the Financial Managers taking over cities as sent by Lansing but yet Snyder has another "version" of this very same law WE VOTED DOWN coming up for the Republicans to vote on. I say Republicans because they seem to run over us as if we haven't spoken. It seems they lost THE BIG ONE so come hell or high water they're going to win the little ones, even when it means ignoring our vote. I've said this SO many times but I'm really tired of people we elected ignoring us and our votes and voting the way their party dictates. I've always said I'm not a Democrat but the more I read about the Republicans, I'm thinking of joining. If anyone wants to have a version of the Tea Party, let me know. I say version because that was "taxation without representation." This is government without representation.
Seymour Poon December 07, 2012 at 03:11 PM
PolitiFact investigates Right-to-Work claims: http://www.politifact.com/wisconsin/article/2012/may/11/right-work-look-its-impact/. Excerpt: Here are some highlights of right-to-work rulings on PolitiFact’s Truth-O-Meter. In December 2010, we rated Half True a claim by state Rep. Robin Vos (R-Rochester) that right to work states "have higher rates of income growth." We noted: "He’s correct on that statistic. But he leaves the impression that right-to-work status is what causes incomes to rise. As our interviews with economists show, that’s debatable, at best. And that’s important context left out of the statement." PolitiFact National gave a Mostly True to Fox News host Bill O’Reilly, who said that "the right-to-work states have much lower level of unemployment than the union states do." "To say it’s ‘much lower’ is a stretch, but he's right that it is lower," the item concluded. Our Rhode Island counterparts rated Mostly False a state senator’s assertion that "if you look at states that are right to work, they constantly do not have budget deficits and they have very good business climates." Many such states have had budget deficits, they noted, and the research on business climates is unclear. PolitiFact Georgia found True a Newt Gingrich claim that right-to-work states "are creating a lot more jobs today than the heavily unionized states."
Jim December 07, 2012 at 03:16 PM
The union is the reason none of the foreign transplants would come to Michigan. We lost thousands of jobs.
James December 07, 2012 at 03:40 PM
This is why Snyder said not to put the Prop. 2 on the ballot in November. He wasn't interested in that and all it would do is motivate the RTW crowd, which it did and now it's out of his hands. The union's did this to themselves and they are going to pay dearly for it.
Tom December 07, 2012 at 04:25 PM
Yes republicans are all about retribution instead of legislating laws for the common good.
George December 07, 2012 at 06:18 PM
Wrong, Jim! It IS in Snyder's hands. He can veto the bill. And if he does, there isn't a two thirds majority to over-ride the veto.
Charles L Walls December 07, 2012 at 08:01 PM
It's a sad state of affairs when people can be so easily fooled by the union special interest spin. Yes, once upon a time unions did indeed help workers get fair treatment from greedy employers. But they've gone way beyond serving that need today. Today there are more than enough laws to prevent employer abuse of workers, and the unions have already achieved all the "fairness" that is deserved. All they can do now is try to go beyond fairness and play the "more for me" greed card. Unionism is now just another self-serving special interest group, and another underpinning of the radical left's socialist agenda that is killing the US economy. Too bad the Dearborn politicians can't see what a majority of the states in the US have realized -- business and industry just don't even consider expansion in states that have not yet adopted right-to-work laws, and which remain victims of the union special interest greed.
Lee Jacobsen December 07, 2012 at 08:54 PM
All the law does is allow a worker a choice of whether to belong to a union or not. The union needs convince a worker that it is in his or her's best interest to join a union. Federal law still protects a union's right to organize etc. In days of old,, we are talking a long time ago, Federal laws were practically non-existent for the protection of workers, and unions did good via higher wages, safety, and arbitration to the workplace. This law does not eliminate that process. It just lets folk make a choice about joining. Freedom of choice. Don't like the conditions or pay at where you work? Form a union, that is your choice. Get others to join, that is yours, and their choice. If it makes sense, they will join. If they don't see value for forming or joining a union, they won't. Half the country is 'right to work', and those states are expanding. As a percentage of increase in earnings, (earnings per hour from start to end of study period) pay in most 'right to work' states has tripled compared to Michigan over a period of ten years. Are Dems upset? Of course! There goes the cash cow for the PACs. Unions and politics need to be fair to all folk, being forced to join a union and support Obama when one has other views is not freedom of choice. You should not lose your job opportunity by not supporting the union political view. Bottom line, the monopoly of the union is gone, they have to entice you to join with perks, if the perks don't fit, then don't commit.
George December 07, 2012 at 10:04 PM
Boy, Lee! Your rant couldn't be further from the truth! You have convinced your-right-radical-self, but no one else. Funny how you use the words "Freedom of Choice", but those words don't apply in your world when it comes to a woman's choice regarding abortion. You're talking from both sides of your mouth, once again! Talking about Federal Law: today workers have the choice of paying DUES that include money for political PACS or paying a smaller FEE for the work that the union provides in collective bargaining for better pay, health care, working conditions, etc. So, TODAY workers have a choice to pay for Union PACS, or not. PLEASE READ THE LAW! This NEW law says that workers do not have to pay the smaller FEE to the union for the good work they do in the collective bargaining negotiations. (AGAIN, PLEASE READ THE LAW!) We have seen what this leads to in other RTW states: lower wages, fewer benefits, poor working conditions, etc.. That's right Lee, these things are still happening TODAY, not just 60-70 years ago. Are the Republicans happy? Of Course! They still have their cash cow for their PACS: the corporations, owners and CEO's of these businesses, and the millionaires, billionaires. And this group will have even more money to work with after this bill becomes law, because they will be cutting wages to make more profit to put into their PACS to support Republican candidates. After all, when all is said and done, that's really what this legislation was all about!
Lee Jacobsen December 07, 2012 at 11:16 PM
Rant!!? George, your comments simply prove that there are dueling studies regarding 'right to work', in other words, you can find a study to support your particular point of view, whichever side it is. Convincing folk!!?? I don't have to convince anyone to do anything. Let the unions do the convincing, if folk are convinced that life simply can't go on unless they belong to a union, that unions are better than sliced bread and a necessity of life in the workplace, they will join the union and pay dues. If unions are the 'cats meow', you will have a hard time handling the 'rush'. However, if folk don't see the benefit of a union, and it is the union's job to promote the benefits, then folk won't join. Simple as that. Ditto for women and abortion. That is a woman's choice, not yours, not mine, and, if that choice is not honored, we will retreat to the back alleys with coathangers once again. The new law has not changed the worker's options. They can still contribute larger dues for PACs , and smaller fees for collective bargaining, negotiations, etc The only change is that they are not 'Forced' into doing so to have a job. Do you enjoy being 'pushed' around, 'forced' into decisions that you don't agree with? Forced to share a room with a smoker at work, when the only other choice is quitting? Smoking laws fixed that problem, no union negotiations needed. When bosses start cutting wages, union membership should soar according to you, right? Time will tell.
Dearborn Taxpayer December 08, 2012 at 01:14 AM
Court rulings are also clear that in Right/Freedom to Work states unions may negotiate, bargain, and enter into agreements with employers that only cover their dues paying members. Therefore, there is not a "free-rider" problem in RTW states as most anti-RTW folks contend. If someone at a union shop in a RTW state chooses not to join the union, his or her pay, benefits, work rules, etc. will not necessarily be the same as those bargained by the dues-paying union members. I'm not sure why union members are so afraid of giving folks such a choice. Clearly, if the union can negotiate for their members better pay, benefits, etc. than a person can without the union of course they will not lose dues-paying members and most everyone at the unionized work place will choose to be members and pay the union dues. If pay, benefits, etc. go down compared to union members, folks will come running to the union, dues in hand. No-one likes to be forced into anything. I just don't understand why union supporters fear this so much?
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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