The Democratic Congressional delegation in the state of Michigan met with Governor Rick Snyder for an hour today, calling on him to either veto right to work legislation making its way through a lame duck session, or to ask for a delay in the vote until the next general session, or to allow a vote of the public on the matter in a referendum.
The right to work legislation would ban closed-shop unions, and allow workers to refuse to pay union dues while being covered under a collective bargaining agreement. Historically this has decimated unions and caused wage reductions in every state where it’s been tried, which is why labor leaders properly call it “right to work for less.” Governor Snyder said right to work was not on his agenda as recently as a year ago, before switching course and announcing his support last week. Subsequently, preliminary legislation passed the state legislature within a matter of hours, despite opposition from some Republicans. Because of Democratic legislative pickups, it would not have passed in the next session, so Republicans pushed it through the lame duck.
According to the readout of the meeting, the lawmakers said that “The labor-management environment has dramatically improved in recent years in Michigan.” and that “Fracturing that growing unity and creating a contentious labor-management environment will not help attract companies to come to Michigan, the legislators said.” Indeed, many businesses in heavily unionized industries have either remained neutral on right to work or come out against it.
Senator Carl Levin and most of the Democratic delegation in the House, including John Dingell, John Conyers, Sandy Levin, Gary Peters, Hansen Clark, Dave Curson and Congressman-elect Dan Kildee attended the meeting. Snyder said he would “take seriously” their concerns.
Apparently the President, appearing in Michigan today with an appearance about the fiscal slope, will also mention right to work today and his opposition to it. He has already expressed his opposition to it in a statement.