Michigan GOP Rams Through ‘Right To Work’ In Lame Duck Session

The Michigan State Capitol Building. Organized labor no longer welcome.

Republican lawmakers in Michigan, the heart of the nation’s auto industry, have taken the next shot in their perpetual war against organized labor.

Yesterday morning, as reported by The Nation, Republicans moved forward with a bold attempt to make Michigan a “right to work” state, a poorly titled classification that actually guts rights for workers, fast-tracking legislation to that end through both the state house and senate. On cue (and most likely on payroll) the Koch Brother funded Americans for Prosperity arrived to hail the bill as a major breakthrough in labor law and to serve as counter-protest to the significant union-backed protests already in progress.

Professional Troll Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has already promised to sign the bill during the lame-duck session, in direct contradiction to the obvious will of the people in a state that carried President Obama by 10 points in the most recent election.

“Right to Work” initiatives are typically cleverly-disguised union-busting measures, stripping labor of the ability to act collectively in most, if not all, matters, depending on the specifics of the state in question. Once the legislation is signed in Michigan, 24 states will officially be “Right to Work,” enjoying such benefits as, according to the Economic Policy Institute:

3.2 percent lower wages than non-Right to Work states, on average, for an average of $1,500 a year less.

2.6 percent of workers have employer-sponsored health care in “Right to Work” states.

4.8 percent fewer workers have employer sponsored pensions in “Right to Work” states.

Unlike Wisconsin, where narrowly-surviving Governor Scott Walker attacked public sector employees’ rights, the new Michigan legislation would affect public and private sector workers both, hammering their ability to unionize in the home of one of the nation’s most unionized industries, auto manufacturing.

The point to this newest attack is clear – “Right to Work” laws invariably favor employers, allowing them to hire workers for lower pay, fewer benefits, and with far fewer “rights” than employees in states without the grotesquely-mistitled ‘reforms.’ If the strong blue leanings of the 2012 election are any indication, it’s highly likely that the general population of Michigan would be staunchly against these new laws. It’s no wonder the Michigan Republicans had to sneak this one through quietly – they’re losing ground in Michigan and they know it.