In a controversial push, Michigan state Republican legislators made waves Thursday by passing a series of right-to-work measures, attracting a wave of protests from union members and other opponents of the bills. The statutes would bar unions from requiring employees to become union members, or to pay dues or fees as a condition of employment.
While unions and their Democratic allies stand in ardent opposition to the laws, Michigan Republicans on Thursday made a swift move to make theirs the 24th state with right-to-work on the books. A triumph in Michigan, normally considered a pro-union state, would provide the right-to-work movement its most fortified bedrock in the Rust Belt, where unions already have suffered some solid defeats.
"This is all about taking care of the hard-working workers in Michigan, being pro-worker and giving them freedom to make choices," Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder said of the bills. "The goal isn't to divide Michigan, it is to bring Michigan together."
Only hours after the legislation was unveiled, both Republican-led chambers passed measures hindering private unions from requiring dues. But because of rules that require a five-day delay between votes in the Michigan House and Senate on the same bills, the final stroke won’t take place until Tuesday at the earliest. Although Snyder had previously contended that right-to-work initiatives were “not on my agenda,” he acknowledged Thursday he would sign off on the measures.
"We've come to the point where this issue is on the table," Gov. Snyder affirmed Thursday in an interview. "It's time to step up and make a decision and not let this fester."
The effort focused on a series of bills, all of which passed with ease, The AP reported:
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