Michigan’s Democratic governor, Gretchen Whitmer, revoked the state’s right-to-work legislation on Friday. It has been fifty years since these rules were last updated.
Residents were not required to join a union or pay union dues under right-to-work legislation. Nonetheless, the repeal was met with cheers from Whitmer and her fellow Democrats, marking a major victory for labor unions.
At a press conference, Whitmer declared, “Today, we are coming together to restore workers’ rights, protect Michiganders on the job, and grow Michigan’s middle class.” By mandating doctors to put their patients’ needs before their own, by giving construction workers the right to report unsafe conditions on the job, and by enabling them to do the same with regards to food safety issues, these regulations will ensure everyone’s well-being. Let’s keep chipping away at making the working class more comfortable.
After the midterm elections, Democrats in Michigan took over the state legislature and the governorship. As a result, right-to-work statutes signed into law by Republican Governor Rick Snyder were nullified.
According to a survey conducted by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, almost 143,000 union members have departed since right-to-work legislation was passed in 2012. The state’s largest unions have seen a decrease of 26.5% in their dues-paying membership. Between 2012 and 2022, both SEIU and the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees had significant drops in membership. The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) have both had significant attrition in membership in recent years. There was a 32% decline in membership for both the Michigan Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers.
Voters in November confirmed Whitmer’s re-election. She received at least $2.25 million in funding from the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers. She has been criticized in the past for predicting that publicly funded schools will use e-learning technologies through March 2021.
House Republican Leader Matt Hall issued a statement last week voicing his opposition to the elimination of right-to-work protections. According to him, the state’s economy and employment market would suffer because of the new regulations.
Despite the negative effects on the state’s economy, its jobs, and the standard of living for the people, Democrats in Michigan are determined to implement a plan to decrease wages. Potential investors I spoke with in Michigan warned me that the state would lose a lot of high-paying jobs and investment if right-to-work was overturned.
A recent poll conducted by the Mackinac Center found that 58% of respondents supported “right-to-work” legislation, while 29% were opposed. Although more Democrats and liberal independents in Michigan were in favor of the changes than were opposed to them, more Republicans and conservative independents in the state approved of them.
Since taking over the state legislature, Whitmer and her fellow Democrats have made stricter gun control measures a key goal. A “red flag” statute would allow the court to temporarily or permanently remove firearms from anyone who have been determined to be a risk to themselves or others. Allowing “restraining orders that prohibit certain people from owning or purchasing firearms and ordering the surrender and seizure of firearms belonging to a restrained person,” as the bill puts it, is one of its many proposed provisions.