On Thursday, December 6, 2012, the Michigan House passed Right to Work bill HB 4054 by a vote of 58 to 52. The bill then moved to the State Senate and it was reported this morning that the Senate passed its own Right to Work bill SB 116 last night by a vote of 22 to 16 which will now move back to the House. It was also reported this morning that the State Senate also passed a public sector Right to Work bill HB 4003 last night by a vote of 22 to 4 (the 12 Democratic Senators walked out in protest before the vote). That bill also now moves to the House. More information on the legislation may be accessed by viewing the links provided in the AFL-CIO State Government Relations items attached.
All of this legislation proposes Right to Work for both the public and private sectors with the exception of police and firefighters. This is a continuation of fierce attacks on labor and working families, and this directly impacts the IATSE and the members we represent, and is also being viewed as retaliation by the Republican party for the Democratic successes we saw on Election Day last month.
Michigan Governor Snyder had publicly stated he was opposed to the legislation, but was apparently pressured by the Republican party. This is a recurrence of what we saw happen in Wisconsin for over a year in 2011 and 2012. Corporate funds are being poured into state after state after state to assist the Republican-led legislatures as they disguise their efforts to diminish workers’ rights and decimate labor’s voice in the political arena.
We in the IATSE must join with the masses of working families in this fight to oppose this anti-worker legislation in Michigan. If labor does not prevail in this fight we will be faced with the same challenges over and over in states like Alaska, Ohio, Wisconsin and many other states where Republican Governors have all eyes on Michigan waiting to see what happens.
A statement from the White House was issued yesterday as follows:
“President Obama has long opposed so-called ‘right to work’ laws and he continues to oppose them now," said White House spokesman Matt Lehrich in a statement to TPM. "The President believes our economy is stronger when workers get good wages and good benefits, and he opposes attempts to roll back their rights. Michigan – and its workers' role in the revival of the US automobile industry – is a prime example of how unions have helped build a strong middle class and a strong American economy.”
I am urging the officers of all IATSE local unions in the State of Michigan to participate and to mobilize our members throughout the state to actively play a part in this campaign so we can join in solidarity and fight this battle.
Your strongest efforts in this regard are crucial and will be greatly appreciated.
Matthew D. Loeb