And the union activists descended on the capitol in Lansing, singing chants that may have been original when unions first made their appearance in Michigan. The Associated Press reports on the anger last night as the Michigan legislature rapidly passed the bills that will stop the state from forcing people to pay union dues, except in first-responder jobs in the police and fire departments, as Erika previewed in yesterday’s post. Union activists attempted to turn Lansing into another Madison, but failed miserably:
The Detroit News reports on the stunning loss for unions on their home turf. However, the loss isn’t final, as the two chambers have to pass two of the bills again on Tuesday. Union activists are hoping to stop that from happening, but the outlook is grim:
The birthplace of the nation’s modern-day labor movement moved closer to becoming the nation’s 24th right-to-work state after bills Gov. Rick Snyder vowed to sign into law passed their first hurdles in the Republican-controlled Legislature on Thursday.
The House and Senate each passed bills on the same day they were introduced that give private and public sector workers the right to avoid paying union dues in an organized workplace. Only police officers and firefighters would be exempt.
The package can’t reach final completion until at least Tuesday because of procedural rules that require a five-day layover for two of the bills before they can be voted on in the other chamber.
That gives opponents more time to lobby against the legislation, like they did Thursday starting in the early morning when word spread the bills would be introduced, to late evening when the Senate finally adjourned.
Republicans have 64 seats in the House, and only need 56 to pass it. Next year, they will still control the legislature but with reduced majorities. That prompted the legislature to act in the lame-duck session, and they did — rapidly. The bills did not go through the committee process but instead came directly to the floor, probably to avoid the scenes that everyone saw in Madison two years ago.
The comments in the video are interesting. Union activists argue at the same time that the bill will destroy workers’ rights, and that workers shouldn’t have the right to choose whether to financially support the union. This is utter nonsense, which is why right-to-work legislation has grown popular even in Rust Belt states, or perhaps more to the point, particularly in Rust Belt states.
Unions understand what real worker choice means. It means a steep decline in dues payments, which will severely limit the ability of unions to play kingmaker in politics, essentially controlling both sides of the bargaining table when it comes to public-sector labor negotiations. Don’t expect them to give that up easily between now and Tuesday, when the legislature needs to give right-to-work changes one final push to get them to Snyder’s desk. It’s going to get ugly in Lansing.