Yesterday, Michigan became the 24th right-to-work state, despite efforts from Michigan Democrats and pro-union protesters gathered outside the Capitol Building in Lansing.
The new legislation states that workers cannot be forced to join a union to gain employment and the cannot be fired for remaining without a union. Governor Rick Snyder signed the bill into law on Tuesday.
“This legislation forces unions to make better services,” Snyder said. “People shouldn’t have to pay for a service if they don’t want to. So this bill, I feel makes unions better. If unions are not going to make their services better, then they need to know there’s going to be consequences.”
The changes were met with strong opposition from Michigan Democrats, who are the minority party in both the House and Senate.
“Gov. Snyder showed his true colors today. He’s a puppet of extreme donors and he is willing to ignore and lie to his constituents,” said AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka. “His action will undoubtedly please the Koch Brothers and corporate CEOs, but it will diminish the voice of every working man and woman in Michigan.”
A large protest gathered outside the Capitol in Lansing, which consisted mostly of union members. Even President Barack Obama made an appearance t the Daimler Detroit Diesel Plant on Monday.
“What we shouldn’t be doing is trying to take away your rights to bargain for better wages,” said Obama. “These so-called right to work laws — they don’t have anything to do with economics. They have everything to do with politics. What they’re really talking about is, giving you the right to work for less money.”
Snyder responded to Obama later, claiming the President misunderstood the issue.
“I view that as not surprising,” Snyder said. “He’s coming to town, it’s a talked-about issue. He made his comments. We have a different philosophy. But if you actually look at his statements, he talked about collective bargaining rights. If you look at the bill, you know it has nothing to do with collective bargaining.”
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