Dec 3, 2008
House Democrats strike a blow for the workers and the shrinking middle class with the rejection of RTW
Michigan Democratic lawmakers helped put an end to the push for low wages, loss of benefits and the rollback of workplace safety standards by rejecting a bill that would make Michigan a so-called "Right to Work" state.
The House Labor Committee voted down House Bill 4454 introduced by rightwing Republican Jack Hoogendyk, R-Kalamazoo, during a committee hearing Tuesday.
Committee Chair Rep. Fred Miller, D-Mt. Clemens, brought the bill up under the heading "any or all business properly before the committee" on the agenda, and the bill was rejected along party lines. The vote means it will not be sent to the full House floor during the lame duck session and the bill is dead until it is reintroduced in January. Only Republicans Rep. Lorence Wenke, R-Richland, and Rep. Phil Lajoy, R-Canton, voted against workers and the middle class.
Proponents of "Right to Work" claim the law would do away with the requirement that workers must be in a union to be employed at a union shop. However, federal law already protects workers who don't want to join a union to get or keep their jobs, and gives workers the right to opt out of a union. But they must still pay union dues. RTW would give them the option of not paying dues while still enjoying the benefits of being in a union. The law is being used to bust unions under the false claim that states with the law are seeing more job creation.
The assault on the middle class is not yet over, and the Senate companion bills are still pending in the Republican-controlled Senate. Sen. Nancy Cassis, R-Novi, introduced companion bills, Senate Bills 607 and 608. The bills are pending action in the Senate Committee on Commerce and Tourism.