Michigan Republicans Approve Right to Work Amid Protests

LANSING, Mich. – Republicans rushed right-to-work legislation through the Michigan Legislature Thursday, drawing raucous protests from hundreds of union supporters, some of whom were pepper-sprayed by police when they tried to storm the Senate chamber.

With six-vote margins in both chambers, the House and Senate approved measures prohibiting private unions from requiring that nonunion employees pay fees. The Senate was debating a similar bill, with Democrats denouncing it as an attack on worker rights and the GOP sponsor insisting it would boost the economy and jobs. Separate legislation dealing with public-sector unions was expected to come later.

Because of rules requiring a five-day delay between votes in the two chambers on the same legislation, final enactment appears unlikely until next week. Republican Gov. Rick Snyder, who previously had said repeatedly that right-to-work was “not on my agenda,” told reporters Thursday he would sign the measures.

A victory in Michigan would give the right-to-work movement its strongest foothold yet in the Rust Belt region, where organized labor already has suffered several body blows. Republicans in Indiana and Wisconsin recently pushed through legislation curbing union rights, sparking massive protests.

Even before the Michigan bills surfaced, protesters streamed inside the Capitol preparing for what appeared inevitable after Snyder, House Speaker Jase Bolger and Senate Minority Leader Randy Richardville announced at a news conference they were putting the issue on a fast track.

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  • Jon

    i am from Michigan, and this is Great! I hope they fast track this thru, so these Union tugs will see how it feels for the rest of us, as Obama fast tracks his stuff thru.

  • jb80538

    The entire nation should be “right to work” No one should ever be forced to join a union in order to have a job.

  • gracentruth

    It’s about time the bankrupt state of Michigan stands up to the unions that are the major cause of its fiscal problems. I hope it is not too little too late. Peace,

  • The reason there were hundreds of Union protesters is that the rest of the Union member have had to move to States where there are jobs. God bless Michigan, God bless the U.S.A.

  • vietnamvet1971

    I like to see a Defeat for Oblammer and his cronies. Since he has Rammed his BS on us.