Right to work legislation introduced in Michigan

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josh
Right to work legislation introduced in Michigan

Police used pepper spray Thursday to subdue protesters trying to rush the Michigan Senate chamber after Gov. Rick Snyder and other Republican leaders announced they would press for quick approval of right-to-work legislation limiting union powers. . . . . After repeatedly insisting during his first two years in office that right-to-work was not on his agenda, Snyder reversed course Thursday, a month after voters defeated a ballot initiative that would have barred such measures under the state constitution. In an interview with The Associated Press, Snyder said he had kept the issue at arm’s length while pursuing other programs to bolster the state economy. But he said circumstances had pushed the matter to the forefront. http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/gov-snyder-gop-leaders-say-theyll...

josh

As noted, Michigan has the ballot initiative process.  Thus the legislation, which will likely pass, could be reversed in the same manner that Ohio reversed SB 5 last year.  Opponents will have the advantage of calling for repeal of legislation, rather than amending the constitution.  Many may not have liked the latter, but that doesn't necessarily mean they wanted the former.

autoworker autoworker's picture

Advocates have been promoting this initiative for some time. It has now entered an advanced stage, and will likely be on the mid-term ballot. Michigan has been bleeding jobs to RTW states for almost a generation, and has yet to reverse the flow. Ohio may also have an initiative in place by then as well. Should either initiative succeed, Ontario would be hard-pressed not to follow suit. Major capital decisions, regarding operations here, need to be made by the Detroit Three in the not too distant future. No doubt they are watching developments closely, as is Hudak, no doubt.

josh

The state House passed the legislation Thursday afternoon by 58-42. It now moves on to the Senate.

King said Michigan's labor unions will evaluate the legislation and figure out a way to challenge it.

State Rep. Vicki Barnett, D-Farmington Hills, who spoke against the bill to loud applause from the gallery, said it contains an appropriation of state funds designed to make it referendum-proof.

Bills considered appropriation bills cannot be repealed through a ballot measure, as which happened with the toughened emergency manager law, Public Act 4, on Nov. 6.

King said he is determined to find a way to overturn the legislation.

. . . .

King said the labor movement will consider citizen initiatives, referendums and other measures.

http://www.freep.com/article/20121207/BUSINESS01/312070070/UAW-President-Bob-King-Right-to-work-is-wrong-for-Michigan-

josh

The "freedom to freeload" bill is being rammed through in the "lame duck" session with hearings or amendments

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AsI2xc_FYX0

autoworker autoworker's picture

@josh: thanks for the info about the legislation including an appropriation measure. This sure would suck if it can't be overturned next midterm. What would Walter Reuther do?

josh

It could be overturned.  There are two separate ballot procedures in Michigan:  referendum and initiative.  The former is a ballot questiion voting up or down on legislation enacted into law.  But you can't get that on the ballot if it includes an appropriation.  Initiative is where you put a question on the ballot after petitioning the legislature to adopt a law.  In this instance something like, right to work should not be permitted.  It's a more time consuming process than referendum.  Also, once a referendum is certified to go on the ballot, the adopted law is suspended, unlike with an initiative.

autoworker autoworker's picture

@josh: thanks again for explaining that. What cards does King have to play, at this point?

josh

Looks like there's little he can do to stop it from passing.  Next step probably is deciding whether they want to go the referendum route, which would mean trying to get the Michigan Supreme Court to reverse its previous decisions holding that appropriation measures appended to non-appropriation laws imminunize the law from a referendum or, more likely, start the initiative process by petitioning to repeal the law in the new legislative session that begins next month.

autoworker autoworker's picture

It looks like RTW is set to pass next Tuesday, but existing contracts will remain in force until they expire (2015, as it applies to the UAW/Detroit 3).

josh

President Barack Obama on Monday threw his support behind labor unions opposed to a Republican-led drive for "right-to-work" laws in Michigan, saying efforts to pass such measures were not about economics but about politics. Obama used a visit to an auto plant in the cradle of the American labor movement to weigh in on the controversial push in the state legislature to impose new restrictions on unions, part of the Democratic president's political base that helped him win re-election last month.

"What we shouldn't be doing is trying to take away your rights to bargain for better wages and working conditions," he said to loud cheers from workers at the Daimler Detroit Diesel plant in Redford, Michigan. "We shouldn't be doing that."

 "These so-called right-to-work laws, they don't have to do with economics, they have everything to do with politics," Obama said. "What they're really talking about is giving you the right to work for less money."

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/12/10/us-usa-unions-michigan-obama-idUSBRE8B912T20121210

Bacchus

Then why doesnt he fucking introduce federal legislation regulating it instead of photo ops designed to make him look like one of the working class?

josh

The laws are permitted by the anti-union 1947 Taft-Hartley Act.  It would be futile to introduce legislation to repeal that since the Republicans control the house and the filibuster in the senate.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

It would be a cool gesture on Obama's part, though. It'd really show where he stands.

josh

Law passes Michigan house.  Avenues for repeal:

Citizens Initiative: This route may be labor's best route to the ballot box. According to an analysis by the Citizens Research Council of Michigan labor supporters could need to gather a high number of signatories to force a vote to repeal the law, similar to what was done in Ohio with the repeal of an anti-collective bargaining law. This route does not require the removal of the appropriations in the legislation.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/11/right-to-work-michigan_n_2277178.html

autoworker autoworker's picture

josh wrote:

Law passes Michigan house.  Avenues for repeal:

Citizens Initiative: This route may be labor's best route to the ballot box. According to an analysis by the Citizens Research Council of Michigan labor supporters could need to gather a high number of signatories to force a vote to repeal the law, similar to what was done in Ohio with the repeal of an anti-collective bargaining law. This route does not require the removal of the appropriations in the legislation.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/11/right-to-work-michigan_n_2277178.html

Gov. Snyder can also use his line item veto to remove the appropriation from the bill, thus allowing it on the next ballot. Gov. Snyder is up for re-election in 2014.

autoworker autoworker's picture

Gov. Snyder has signed the bill into law, with the appropriation attachment.

josh

What a surprise.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Update: 12/11: This is what Lansing looks like this morning as around 15,000 people have converged on the capitol:

Imgur