Obama criticizes Michigan right-to-work bills - WNEM TV 5

Obama criticizes Michigan right-to-work bills

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Pres. Barack Obama speaking at the Detroit-area plant on Monday. Pres. Barack Obama speaking at the Detroit-area plant on Monday.
Gov. Rick Snyder Gov. Rick Snyder
ROMULUS, Mich. (AP) -

President Barack Obama says right-to-work legislation in Michigan is more about politics than economics. He is criticizing a measure that would prevent requiring non-union employees to financially support unions at their workplace.

Obama received loud applause at a Michigan engine plant when he said we shouldn't be "taking away your rights to bargain for better wages and working conditions."

The president says that the right-to-work bills are more about "giving you the right to work for less money."

The Michigan House and Senate approved the legislation last week. Democrats have urged Republican Gov. Rick Snyder to veto the measure that he has pledged to sign.

The Republican-controlled Legislature is expected to take final action on the bills as early as Tuesday.

Obama and Detroit Diesel unveiled a $128 million investment at the factory in Redford Township, Michigan.

The plant owned by Germany's Daimler will be expanded to make transmissions and axles. 

The investment will create or retain 197 jobs, bringing the overall employment at the Detroit Diesel facility to more than 2,500.

The governor's office says Snyder also met Monday with Democratic members of Michigan's Congressional delegation. Democrats say they asked Snyder to veto the legislation or ask the Legislature to delay moving forward on it. 

Sen. Carl Levin and other Michigan lawmakers told reporters they warned the governor that allowing the legislation to become law would divide the state and severely damage what have been improving relations between labor and management.

Levin said Snyder agreed to "seriously consider" their requests.

The state House and Senate approved bills last week that would prohibit requiring non-union employees to financially support unions at their workplace.

Supporters say doing so would bring more jobs to Michigan. But opponents say it's intended to weaken unions.

During the same speech, Obama went on to touch on the "fiscal cliff," stating he "won't compromise" on his demands that the wealthiest Americans pay more in taxes.

However, Obama held back from directly criticizing Republicans for opposing his tax plans, perhaps signaling that private negotiations over the "fiscal cliff" are showing progress. Obama and Boehner met privately at the White House Sunday.

Obama traveled to Michigan Monday to try to rally public support for his proposals to raise rates on the top 2 percent of income earners. Speaking to auto workers, he said he was willing to support "tough spending cuts" as long as those cuts do not disproportionately hurt the middle class.

Copyright 2012 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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