Worker rights under threat in Michigan

Worker rights under threat in Michigan

Whitmer has repealed right-to-work legislation despite campaign promises to the contrary.

An effort to repeal right-to-work legislation in Michigan has been signed into law. The legislation was passed along party lines with only Democrats voting to repeal this law which protected workers from having to pay union dues in order to have a job. 

Michigan has been a right-to-work state since 2013, which means laws are in place to prevent workers from being fired for choosing not to pay a union. With the change in power in the state legislature after the recent midterm elections, this was bound to be a top priority

The vote passed on razor-thin margins along party lines in a 20-17 vote, showing how narrow support is for the legislation. In fact, half of Michiganders are either neutral or undecided on the legislation. That could be why the legislature took advantage of a loophole so the people would have no say in the issue.  

In 2018, Whitmer promised to veto all referendum-proof legislation – legislation that voters aren’t able to approve or reject due to funding mechanisms. “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,” Whitmer’s “Sunshine Plan” said. Now, she has reneged on that promise. 

“I have made a promise to restore workers’ rights in Michigan,” Whitmer told reporters at an event Monday. “I have fought against the creation of this barrier in the first place. I did not ask the Legislature to put that part into the bill and it certainly is not on my agenda.” Michiganders did not ask for these worker protections to be repealed. 

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