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No Longer Right to Work

Summary:
We were living in Michigan when Engler and the Republican Legislature passed Right to Work Laws. The effort was meant to undercut Unions and saving costs for the Big Three automakers. Supposedly cars would be lower in costs to with the reductions reflected in prices to consumers. Never happened. Michigan reversed Right to Work Laws just recently. Michigan becomes 1st state in decades to repeal ‘right-to-work’ law, PBS NewsHour, Paula Gardner LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan, long known as a mainstay of organized labor, on Friday became the first state in decades to repeal a union-restricting law known as “right-to-work” that was passed over a decade ago by a Republican-controlled Legislature. The state’s “right-to-work” law had allowed those

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We were living in Michigan when Engler and the Republican Legislature passed Right to Work Laws. The effort was meant to undercut Unions and saving costs for the Big Three automakers. Supposedly cars would be lower in costs to with the reductions reflected in prices to consumers. Never happened.

Michigan reversed Right to Work Laws just recently.

Michigan becomes 1st state in decades to repeal ‘right-to-work’ law, PBS NewsHour, Paula Gardner

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan, long known as a mainstay of organized labor, on Friday became the first state in decades to repeal a union-restricting law known as “right-to-work” that was passed over a decade ago by a Republican-controlled Legislature.

The state’s “right-to-work” law had allowed those in unionized workplaces to opt out of paying union dues and fees. Its repeal is seen as a major victory for organized labor with union membership reaching an all-time low last year.

“Today, we are coming together to restore workers’ rights, protect Michiganders on the job, and grow Michigan’s middle class,” Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said in a statement Friday after signing the legislation.

The second-term governor also signed legislation restoring a prevailing wage law that had been repealed by Republicans in 2018. It requires contractors hired for state projects to pay union-level wages.

Repealing the “right-to-work” law, enacted in 2012, had long been listed as a top priority for Democrats, who took control of the full state government this year for the first time in 40 years.

Supporters of the repeal poured into the state Capitol in Lansing earlier this month as the House and Senate took up the legislation before approving it along party lines after limited deliberations.

Democrats had argued that the law allowed for “free riders” that received union representation without having to pay fees or dues. Without it, unions can now require all workers in a unionized workplace to pay fees for the cost of representation in bargaining.

Michigan had the nation’s seventh-highest percentage of unionized workers when the “right-to-work” law was enacted in 2012, but that dropped to 11th in 2022. Over the past decade, union membership in Michigan has fallen by 2.6 percentage points as overall U.S. union membership has been falling steadily for decades, reaching an all-time low last year of 10.1%.

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