Michigan right-to-work legislation signed into law
By JOHN FLESHER and JEFF KAROUB December 11, 2012 9:52AM
Debbie Nault from the Michigan Nurses Association stands with other members of the association on the state Capitol steps in Lansing, Mich., Monday, Dec. 10, 2012, protesting right-to-work legislation. Organizers say the gathering was meant to symbolize the silencing of unions that nurses say will happen should the legislation become law.(AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
Updated: January 13, 2013 6:18AM
LANSING, Mich. — Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder on Tuesday signed into law right-to-work measures limiting union powers.
The Michigan Legislature earlier gave final approval to the contentious right-to-work plan limiting the power of unions, sending it to the Republican governor for his expected signature.
The GOP-controlled House passed two bills Tuesday that were previously approved by the Senate. One dealt with public-sector workers and another focused on the private sector. Both chambers had approved a version of the private sector bill last week.
Passage followed numerous challenges and changes sought by Democrats as well as raucous protests inside and outside the Capitol from pro-union demonstrators. Thousands descended upon downtown Lansing to rally against the legislation that prohibits requiring nonunion employees to financially support unions at their workplace.
The labor stronghold of Michigan would become the 24th right-to-work state, banning requirements that nonunion employees pay unions for negotiating contracts and other services.
Illinois has not seen a serious right-to-work movement largely because of a near Democratic lock on the General Assembly in the past 30 years. During much of that time, the state had Republican governors, but they tended to be moderates who dealt with labor amicably.
And when the GOP held the state Senate during the 1990s, there were many moderate Republicans from suburban Chicago who balanced out more conservative lawmakers from central and southern Illinois.
But in Indiana, the Republican-controlled Legislature approved right-to-work earlier this year. House Democrats walked out in 2011 for five weeks to block the measure by denying the GOP majority the numbers needed to conduct business.
The state’s quasi-public economic development corporation says a handful of companies have expanded operations in part because of the law.