Whitmer repeals right-to-work law, backpedaling on campaign promise
$1 million appropriation addition referendum-proofs bill, a practice Whitmer claimed she would veto on campaign trail
The Michigan Senate has passed a bill effectively reversing Michigan’s 2018 law giving workers the right to work despite union membership. When it arrives on Governor Whitmer’s desk, she plans to sign it. This is a major blow to the liberty workers have in the state to work outside of union membership, but the action is not surprising from Whitmer or the newly Democrat-led Congress.
“I am going to sign a bill that restores workers’ rights,” Governor Whitmer announced at a press conference. She continued, “I have made a promise to restore workers’ rights in Michigan and I have fought against the creation of this barrier in the first place.”
Repealing the right-to-work law has been a staple of Governor Whitmer’s campaign from the beginning. However, to do so, she will have to renege on another key promise made on the campaign trail.
Last week, Michigan House Democrats added a $1 million appropriation to the bill, effectively ending any chance of a referendum veto. In Michigan, voters are not allowed to run a referendum campaign on a bill with financial expenditures attached to it.
In her 2018 “Michigan Sunshine Plan”, Whitmer vowed to end “legislative referendum-proofing to ensure integrity in our legislative process.” She went on to say, “If a non-appropriations bill has a dollar amount added to circumvent the people’s right to a referendum and it reaches my desk, I will veto it.”
That promise seems only to apply to bills that aren’t her own legislative priorities. “I did not ask the Legislature to put that part into the bill and it certainly is not on my agenda. But I am going to sign a bill that restores workers’ rights,” Whitmer stated Monday.
Republican Sen. Lana Theis blasted her and other democrats’ hypocrisy, asking if “those in the majority are interested in good governance or selling political scores to repay their major campaign contributions.”
If Governor Whitmer goes against her commitment to “ensure integrity in our election process”, not only will she be going against a staple of her own campaign promises, but will make it significantly more difficult for voters to repeal the law. In order to do so, it would require a constitutional amendment – and twice the amount of signatures.
“This is exactly the type of shortsighted, politically-charged policy that imposes burdensome, unnecessary hurdles to generating more and better jobs and the economic growth that benefits all Michiganders,” wrote Michigan Chamber of Commerce President Jim Holcomb in a statement.
Republican Senate Minority Leader Aric Nesbitt echoes this sentiment. “This is disgraceful. The action of repealing this Right-to-Work law will effectively be denying our fellow citizens the freedom of self-determination.”
Governor Whitmer has signed despite promising to veto any attempt at referendum proofing a bill, it will show that she cares more about protecting union interests than keeping her own word. Michiganders deserve better.