LANSING — House Democrats introduced two bills today that would repeal Michigan’s controversial right to work law. The legislation, which was signed into law during a contentious lame duck session in 2012, hurts working families by impeding their ability to bargain together for fair wages, keeping money out of their pocketbooks. So-called ‘right to work’ states have been shown to provide lower wages than states without the prohibitive legislation, resulting in less money circulating in Michigan’s economy.
“For years, Republicans have systematically attacked working people’s power to join together to negotiate for a fair return on their work,” said Rep. John Chirkun (D-Roseville), who introduced House Bill 4033. “It is time for us to unrig the rules against working families once and for all to protect their freedoms as Michiganders to stand together in a union.”
Research shows that working families in states with right to work laws are at an economic disadvantage compared to states without these anti-worker policies. In non-right to work states, all workers — whether they belong to a union or not — benefit from higher union-negotiated benefits and wages. In states like Michigan with right to work for less laws, working people lose out on an average of $1,500 in wages each year.
“As a proud product of three generations of union autoworkers, I understand all too well the negative impact that this law has had on working families throughout Michigan,” said state Rep. Brian K. Elder (D-Bay City), chair of the Michigan Legislative Labor Caucus and the sponsor of House Bill 4034. “In reality, these laws allow freeriders to gain the benefits of union representation — increased wages, benefits and workplace safety — without paying to be a member of a union. That’s just morally wrong.”