Bills introduced to repeal Michigan's controversial 'Right to Work' laws

Michigan Capitol
Photo credit Getty Images - File

(WWJ) There's a new effort to repeal the state's controversial "Right to Work" laws.

Legislation introduced in the Michigan House on Tuesday would repeal the Right to Work bill, and restore worker protections to pre-2012 levels for private and public sector workers.

Trenton Democrat Darrin Camilleri (D-Trenton) says the law, signed into law by former Gov. Rick Snyder, have proven harmful to working Michiganders.

He said studies have shown that workers in RTW states, both union and non-union, tend to earn lower wages on average and have lower-quality health and retirement benefits.

“As the son and grandson of union autoworkers, I’ve seen firsthand the way union membership builds power in our families and communities,” said Camilleri. “Over the past nine years, we’ve seen workers receiving lower wages on average while companies have enjoyed higher profits. By repealing this unjust law, we can strengthen the voices of Michigan workers and allow them to receive the pay, benefits, and protections they need and deserve.”

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

Camilleri and Terry Sabo (D-Muskegon), who co-sponsored House Bills 4175 and 4176 to repeal Michigan’s Right to Work law, noted that that law was passed in an all-night lame duck session without bipartisan input or support.

“As a retired firefighter and police officer belonging to a public sector union, I believe Michigan workers deserve a stronger voice and more protections for their wages and benefits,” said Sabo. “These two bills are needed in order to fix what the Republican Majority passed into law in 2012. These bills will help improve the lives of Michigan’s working families and the communities they live in.”

Ron Bieber, President of the Michigan AFL-CIO said he supports the move.

"Rick Snyder and Lansing Republicans have spent nearly a decade directly attacking working people's wages and rights to organize, and it has hurt our state's ability to recover from tough times like this terrible pandemic," said Bieber.

"Repealing so-called 'right to work' laws will give people the freedom to organize and bargain for a fair return on their work, it will boost wages for folks who need help right now, and it will give frontline workers more of a voice at work. We can do better as a state to help people get to work healthy and return home the same way. Let's get these laws repealed to help smooth the road ahead as Michigan continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic."

Featured Image Photo Credit: Getty Images - File