Michigan Democrats approve plan to repeal right to work law

Michigan's controversial Right to Work law is a step closer to being history after a Michigan House committee approved a proposal to repeal the unpopular law.

More than a decade ago, in December 2012, over 10,000 angry pro union demonstrators tried to block the Republicans from passing a right to work law. The demonstrators lost that battle.

Repealing the law, which prohibits public and private unions from requiring that nonunion employees pay union dues even if the union bargains on their behalf, has been a top priority for Democrats since they took full control of the state government this year.

Now, organized labor and others showed up to repeal what the Republicans did way back when. Today, with Democrats in control of the House and Senate, a repeal of the law is expected to pass despite objections from business.

"Right to work makes states more competitive for some jobs because with right to work states are simply not considered. We're not even in the game. I want to be clear, our organization is not against unions, in fact we partner with unions really well, we're for choice," Jonas Peterson from SW Michigan First said.

Rep. Regina Weiss, (D) Oak Park, is the sponsor of the repeal and argues that Michigan labor has gotten weaker and others claim wages are down 13% and job injuries are up 50%.

"Unionization rates have steadily declined. Michigan - considered the birthplace of the modern union movement - dropped from 5th place in the nation in 2012 to the 12th state in 2021. Along with that decline in unionization, there has also been a decline in benefits, pay, and work place protections have impacted the safety of workers. We know that the workers in states with full collective bargaining rates make $1,500 more than workers with restrictions on those rights," Weiss said.

The House Labor Committee also approved restoring the prevailing wage on public works projects.

"It's a win for Michigan's economy with more money flowing into businesses. And it's a win for Michigan taxpayers who will receive a better return on its investment in our roads and infrastructures," State Rep. Brenda Carter, (D) Pontiac, said.

Despite efforts by Republicans to water down the bill, Democrats have fulfilled that campaign promise and are sending the repeal to the senate.

Meanwhile there is chatter that conservatives like the Betsey DeVos and others will launch a petition drive to let the voters decide if they want right to work or not.