LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Michigan’s controversial Right to Work law is one step closer to extinction.
The Michigan House has approved the proposal to repeal the law while increasing the state minimum wage on public works projects, despite objections from the business community.
On Dec. 11, 2012, there was a huge demonstration on the Capitol lawn against Right to Work. More than 10,000 angry pro-union demonstrations tried to block Republicans from passing a Right to Work law.
The demonstrators lost that battle.
Now, some 10 years later, organized labor and others – still licking their wounds – showed up to repeal what the Republicans did way back then.
And because the votes gave Democrats control of the House and Senate, it looks like the repeal may pass despite objections from businesses.
“Right to Work makes states more competitive for some jobs because, with Right to Work, states are considered. Some states without it are not considered. We are not saying we are anti-union but we’re for choice,” said Jonas Peterson, CEO of Southwest Michigan First.
The sponsor of this repeal argues that Michigan labor has gotten weaker, and others claim wages are down 13% and job injuries are up 50%.
“Union membership rates have declined from 5th place in the nation to number 12. There has also been a decline in benefits, pay, and workplace protections have impacted the safety of workers. And it’s been shown paychecks have gone down by $1,500 compared to workers with restrictions,” said Democratic State Representative Regina Weiss.
The House Labor Committee also approved restoring the prevailing wage on public works projects.
“It’s a win-win for workers. A win for the economy because higher wages means lower costs on projects, making it a better investment for taxpayers on projects,” said Democratic State Representative Brenda Carter.
“It’s illegal to say if you increase pay, it will reduce the cost of projects. That’s not true,” said Republican State Representative Doug Wozniak.
Despite efforts by Republicans to water down the bill, Democrats paid off on a campaign promise by sending the repeal to the Senate.
Meanwhile, there is chatter that conservatives like Betsy DeVos and others will launch a petition drive to let the voters decide if they want Right to Work or not.