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Unions, Dems vow political payback for right-to-work law

Published: Mon, December 10, 2012 @ 12:00 a.m.

Associated Press


With defeat in the Michigan Legislature virtually certain, Democrats and organized labor intend to make enactment of right-to-work laws as uncomfortable as possible for Gov. Rick Snyder and his Republican allies while laying the groundwork to seek payback at the polls.

Shell-shocked opponents of the laws spent the weekend mapping strategy for protests and acts of civil disobedience, while acknowledging the cold reality that Republican majorities in both the House and Senate cannot be stopped — or even delayed for long by parliamentary maneuvers. Leaders vowed to resist to the end, and then set their sights on winning control of the Legislature and defeating Snyder when he seeks re-election in 2014.

“They’ve awakened a sleeping giant,” United Auto Workers President Bob King told The Associated Press on Saturday at a Detroit-area union hall, where about 200 activists were attending a planning session. “Not just union members. A lot of regular citizens, nonunion households, realize this is a negative thing.”

Right-to-work laws prohibit requiring employees to join a union or pay fees similar to union dues as a condition of employment.

Supporters say it’s about freedom of association for workers and a better business climate. Critics contend the real intent is to bleed unions of money and bargaining power.

Hundreds of chanting, whistle-blowing demonstrators thronged the state Capitol last week as bills were introduced and approved hours later, without the usual committee hearings allowing for public comment. Even more protesters are expected Tuesday, when the two chambers may reconcile wording differences and send final versions to Snyder, who now pledges to sign them after saying repeatedly since his 2010 election the issue wasn’t “on my agenda.”

Republicans are betting any political damage will be short-lived. During a news conference with GOP leaders last week announcing their intent to press ahead with right-to-work measures, Snyder urged labor to accept the inevitable and focus on showing workers why union representation is in their best interest.

“Let’s move forward; let’s get a conclusion; let’s get an answer and get something done so we can move on to other important issues in our state,” he said.

On that point, at least, the governor won’t get his way. Unions and their Democratic allies say this means war.

Allowing employees to opt out of financially supporting unions while enjoying the same wages and benefits as members undermines the foundation of organized labor, they contend. A UAW bulletin described it as “the worst anti-worker legislation Michigan has ever seen.”

“You will forever remember the day when you thought you could conquer labor,” Sen. Coleman Young II, a Detroit Democrat and son of the city’s fiery late mayor, boomed during floor debate Thursday. “Be prepared to engage in the fight of your life.”

But for all the defiant rhetoric, the opposition faces tough odds.

State law forbids repealing spending bills through referendums, and Republicans made the right-to-work measures immune by attaching a $1 million appropriation. So the only apparent way to nullify the policy, once enacted, will be to seize statehouse control through the ballot box.

Even after losing five House seats in November, Republicans will retain majorities in both chambers for the next two years — during which time they expect voter attention to turn to other topics. They redrew district lines in their favor after the 2010 Census, boosting their long-term prospects.

Also, as Snyder noted, fewer than 20 percent of Michigan workers are union members. Organized labor rolls and influence have declined in recent years, emboldening Republicans to challenge unions even in their historic Rust Belt stronghold.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker survived a recall attempt after curtailing collective bargaining for most public employees. After Indiana enacted a right-to-work law this year, voters in November gave Republicans a legislative majority so large they can conduct business without any Democrats present. Snyder and GOP lawmakers already had chipped away at Michigan union rights, even forbidding school districts from deducting dues from teachers’ paychecks.

Another problem for opponents: Right-to-work has considerable voter support. A statewide phone survey of 600 likely voters conducted in late November by the Lansing firm EPIC-MRA found 54 percent favored the idea while just 40 percent opposed it, although they were evenly divided when asked whether Michigan should become the 24th state with such laws. The margin of error was plus or minus 4 percentage points.


1Photoman(1004 comments)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

So this is the American way? You lose an election and immediately vow revenge, civil disobedience and endless fighting? Is this really what our nation is all about?

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2ytownsteelman(628 comments)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

When Republicans lose we don't throw temper tantrums, but the entitled know of nothing else if they don't get their way.

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3cambridge(3013 comments)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

Note: The "right to work" states in general are the poorest states in the country.



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4Silence_Dogood(1348 comments)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

As the National Institute for Labor Relations Research pointed out in a fact sheet published last month, in 2011 the cost of living in states where forced union dues are permitted was nearly 20% higher than in Right to Work states.

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5Silence_Dogood(1348 comments)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

1. Percentage Growth in Non-Farm Private Sector Employees (1995-2005)
a. Right to Work States: 12.9%
b. Non-right to Work States: 6.0%

2. Average Poverty Rate-Adjusted for Cost of Living (2002-2004)
a. Right to Work States: 8.5%
b. Non-right to Work States: 10.1%

3. Percentage Growth in Patents Annually Granted (1995-2005)
a. Right to Work States: 33.0%
b. Non-right to Work States: 11.0%

4. Percentage Growth in Real Personal Income (1995-2005)
a. Right to Work States: 26.0%
b. Non-right to Work States: 19.0%

5. Percentage Growth in Number of People Covered by Employment Based Private Health Insurance (1995-2005):
a. Right to Work States: 8.5%
b. Non-right to Work States: 0.7%

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6Silence_Dogood(1348 comments)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

In general cambilge that statement is malarky.

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7cambridge(3013 comments)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

dog....I provided links with numbers and facts....in general you did not so maybe you should stay silent.

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8JoeFromHubbard(1044 comments)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

Union ranks in this country have been declining for years.

If they were as beneficial as the left leaning claim, one would think that union membership would be increasing.

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9Silence_Dogood(1348 comments)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

cambilge lets agree to disagree. I will stay silent and you can go back to school and learn how to do research and read.

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10commoncitizen(961 comments)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

So being in the union guarantees that you hold your job, like the Chrysler workers that were caught drinking and smoking pot during lunch? I'm sure there are people out there that would do those jobs and not have to drink and smoke pot while working OR have to belong to a union.

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11cambridge(3013 comments)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

dog....I'm the one that did the research and provided the links you failed to read. Here they are again. You have to click on them so they will open, then you can have someone read them to you. Ask your your grandkids, they'll show you how.



While I disagree with you if you feel someone like myself doesn't deserve a living wage, health benefits and a pension, I totally agree with your right to work for substandard wages and benefits. My way has been working fine for me. :-)

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12Lesthanzero(35 comments)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

"They've awakened a sleeping giant," said King. More like they've aggravated a dormant but festering pustule. This isn't an attack on unions, it's the promotion of freedom. Michigan and Ohio unions will now be motivated to do what they do best: Not work, but cause a disturbance.

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13commoncitizen(961 comments)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

Maybe they DID finally" waken up a sleeping giant"-- all of the people putting up with bullying of the unions. Where in the constitution does it say you have to belong to a union to get/hold a job. Another example of a minority (unions) trying to force something on the majority (non union workers).

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14thebeesknees(13 comments)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

Everybody knows that anyone with fingers to type can change information on wikipedia pages...right? Not sure why people continue to cite information from that website..

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15cambridge(3013 comments)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

thebeesknees....I notice you didn't provide a link that disputes those numbers. I know those figures are true and so do you.

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16commoncitizen(961 comments)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

Island Mike needs to find a way to get off of that island. Like Sparky says under the "right to work" worker do NOT have to join a union to hold their jobs, they have a choice, what's wrong with that? Are you against freeedom of choice.

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17borylie(790 comments)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

Island, You give up cigarettes,tattoos and fancy data plans and you look for a better paying job. Told you that you wouldn't understand. I'm right again. This is what I posted a couple of weeks ago. Obviously you ignore answers you don't like and move on to a new post with the same old questions. Do you want the minimum wage to be $20.00 an hour? Would that be a livable wage? Would a skilled or educated person also make $20.00 an hour? Explain to me.

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18tvukovich(9 comments)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

first of all most Union Tradesmen/Craftsmen go from 4 to 6 yrs. in a apprenticeship program then if all classes are passed, become a Journeymen. So the part about education is wrong, but since you never heard it on fox I see why YOU
don't and won't know about it. But in the real world, and not the one you watch on MTV, we, that is the Union Craftsmen are the most trained in the Industry.
The problem is the republicans want the kids coming up today to have the mind set of "Just Be Thankful You Have A Job, Slaves had jobs. Myself as a Union worker just hopes that my kids just MIGHT have a shot like I did, to be what is called THE MIDDLE CLASS. Remember back when Youngstown was booming, you could work at the Steel Mills and you could rise a family on one income. Remember when the most a bank would loan you on a car was only 36 months...now it is 60 months, the cars didn't go up that high... the wages just HAVEN'T WENT UP ON THE SAME PACE.So next time you rip on Unions, ask a Union member what it is like to HAVE A REAL PENSION, AND TO RETIRE IN DIGNITY...not a 401k, put your track shoes on and get ready to have a race to a 3TH. World Type of Living. Have a Great Day My Friend.

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19newsmaker1(127 comments)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

The Union placed a referendum on the ballot to change the Michigan Constitution that would mandate all companies would be Union shops, Gov. Snyder pleaded with them, not to do it.
Union went ahead but lost by a big margin this past election. That's what caused the the 'right to work' law.. The power hungry thugs that run the Union caused this issue to surface.. The people said NO to the union over reach of power,

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20hiker27(18 comments)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

I look up to and support the trade unions and not the shop unions. In the trades you work out of the hall on as needed basis. The employer is not obligated to keep under preformers. if they do not preform, get rid of them and send them back to the hall and get some one who preforms. That way, you get the best of the best for your operations. That is not the case for shop and public unions. If all unions operated like the trades, we would have a great union work force and kick butt but the shop unions do not work this way. That is why I am right to work!!

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21faith(200 comments)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

Do you know that Ohio and MI are both “at will” states? Do you know what that means? It means you can be fired for ANY reason. Sure, when you’re unemployed you can hire an atty. and fight the injustice, but most folks don’t do that. So… should we pay taxes??? I like clean H2O and public schools and cops and the firefighters are nice too, especially when your house is on fire, so I’m ok with paying taxes. If you have a job with a labor agreement that provides you with a profit sharing, and the right to a grievance process if you get fired just because, or the healthcare, or the retirement, or the seniority rights, but you don’t want to pay?? Are you kidding me?? These things are negotiated, not given. And the non-union shops that have all these things, it’s because a UNION fought for them. Freeloaders are even worse than scabs. Right to work sounds good, but it is not.

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22newsmaker1(127 comments)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

Faith: Sounds like the 47% who don't pay taxes but get all the benefits for not working, plus many get Treasury checks in the mail--for not working.

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23tvukovich(9 comments)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

Sparky, it isn't about being angry. It is about knowing the facts about rtw and not what Fox news and the republicans want to spoon feed their listeners. Spark, look up Vance Muse, more to rtw then most know.
Also take a look at George Romney and
the Automobile Manufacturer's Association. This sickness has been a-
round for a long time.Have a Great Day My Friend.

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24borylie(790 comments)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

Island,I'd like to EXPLAIN PLEASE,but I'm afraid you just wouldn't understand. But briefly again I'll try. Unless you want a communist country where everybody makes the same wage,drives same type of car,same housing,minimal health care,etc.,then you must accept that in our country,a free capitalist society,we're going to have top earners all the way down to people who earn very little. There's safety nets for the needy,but for those that work you must reach certain levels to get to certain rewards. For example,a young student goes to school everyday,does the homework,graduates and goes to a higher learning or learns a trade. Chances are this person with a good attitude,work habits and wanting to succeed,will and probably earn good money someday. It's normally a process. On the other hand you have a student who misses school,doesn't do the homework,develops bad habits,makes the wrong decisions and now has to find any job willing to take such a person. If they find the employer willing to take that chance,it's now up to the person to take advantage,go to work everyday,go above and beyond what's expected and be in line for the promotion or go elsewhere with a good resume.
If everybody in the country graduated from Harvard,we'd still need ditch diggers and dish washers. The talented,ambitious and those motivated will rise to the top and the rest will find their spot in the earnings chain. Island,it's just the way it is,most of us don't want to be like everyone else. This is the union way,everybody makes the same amount regardless if your the best worker or the worst.

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25charms(228 comments)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

Why Ohio Should Kick Unions Out

The American taxpayers stand to lose billions as General Motors today announced a plan to buy back 40 percent of the company owned by the federal government.

"The Detroit automaker said it will purchase 200 million shares of GM stock held by Treasury for $5.5 billion — or $27.50 per share — nearly $2 above the stock's closing price on Tuesday," the Detroit News reports.

However, the break even price — the price that GM would need to pay for each share in order to pay back the money the government put in to the company —was $53 a share. That number has now risen dramatically.

"As a result of GM’s buy back, the government has recovered about $28.6 billion of its $49.5 billion GM bailout, which means it will most likely lose billions when selling its remaining shares," MLive.com reports.

Who's going to foot the bill for the loss? The American taxpayers, of course.

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26tvukovich(9 comments)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

Sparky, I will not try to help you understand rtw...for less.If you are ever interested in really reading up on the facts, then you might be able to see how facts and not low handed insults are the way to learn about an issue.
May you and yours have a Nice Christmas.
PS, I always pay my way. Once again
Merry Christmas / Happy New Year!

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27southsidedave(4780 comments)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

I never worked under a Union...so I can't understand what all the hoopla is about.

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