Michigan Senate passes right-to-work repeal

The Democratic-controlled legislature voted to repeal Michigan’s right-to-work law.
The Democratic-controlled legislature voted to repeal Michigan’s right-to-work law.(WILX)
Published: Mar. 14, 2023 at 5:50 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Michigan’s right-to-work law is one step closer to being a thing of the past. The state senate passed a bill repealing the 2012 law Tuesday.

Background: Michigan House votes to repeal state’s right-to-work law

The law made it so unions couldn’t require workers to pay dues to join.

The proposal brought hundreds of people to Lansing letting lawmakers know what they think of right-to-work.

Business leaders said repealing this law would hurt Michigan’s economy, but union members said it will bring more fairness back to the workplace.

“Look around you, look around you, every single union in the state is united,” said Lawrence Roehrig, Michigan AFSCME Council 25 president.

Hundreds of union members were at the Capitol Tuesday asking senators to repeal Michigan’s right-to-work law.

“This is like a dream come true,” said Roehrig.

A dream in the making since the then Republican-controlled legislature passed the law in 2012.

It allowed people to decide if they pay dues to join a union.

Joshua Bowman is part of a new chapter of the Michigan Nursing Association. He said with the current law, it could be hard to maintain the momentum he and his coworkers fought for.

“For somebody new coming in, they don’t see what we’ve been able to accomplish. For us, it’s very important to bring in new blood and we want them to be part of the process,” said Bowman.

Michigan is one of 27 states with right-to-work laws. Business leaders want to see Michigan keep those laws, and said repealing them could hurt Michigan’s small businesses.

“Small businesses don’t have the margin to recover as easily as a large business,” said Amanda Fisher, National Federation of Independent Business Michigan director.

Fisher said businesses want their employees to have a choice whether or not to join a union.

“They advocate for worker freedom. They don’t want their employees to be forced to join an organization they might not agree with,” said Fisher.

Roehrig said this repeal means a new day in the state that started the labor movement.

“This is a beginning. This is the beginning of leveling,” said Roehrig.

Democrats said they hope to have this bill to the governor’s desk by the end of the month.

The House passed a similar bill last week.

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