Friday, December 7, 2012

Am I missing something on the Michigan "Right to Work" law?

by EnragedTurtle

The biggest issue about what is happening in Michigan has to do with how the legislature has chosen to approach this topic.
First, about a month ago, the Governor said he wasn't interested in Right To Work because there were "more important" things to work on, and because the issue is so divisive. People took this to mean that we wouldn't have to worry about it for awhile.
In this past election, Michigan put the issue of collective bargaining on the ballot. The proposed amendments would have made collective bargaining a constitutional right that could not be infringed upon with new laws. Those amendments both failed. There's speculation that the timing of the current legislation is due to these ballot initiatives. Since the proposals failed, it opened the door to reintroduce the issue.
As for what's happening now, the issue of Right-To-Work (allowing employees to "opt out" of paying union dues) has been attached to already-in-existence legislation. Instead of writing up an entire bill just for RTW, they've attached it to other bills already in the chambers. Opponents view this as an underhanded attempt to bypass the normal rules because it doesn't allow for the normally required 5 days of debate for the bill.
There were no committees, no hearings called, not really much of any general debate. There was organized protest to these methods outside the capital. Protesters attempted to enter the capital (some did), but then the doors were locked. An Ingham County judge had to issue an order forcing them to unlock the doors. All of these things had little actual impact, because the Republicans have a majority in both houses and were able to quickly pass all 3 bills (two in the Senate, one in the House).
Opponents say that all these tactics are an attempt to push through unpopular legislation during a lame-duck session because they feel they wouldn't have another opportunity.

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