LANSING, MI (WTVB) - Over the noisy protests of hundreds of union members, the Republican majority in Lansing Thursday pushed controversial “right to Work” bills through the Michigan House and Senate. They now have to wait for five days, under legislative rules, before they can be taken up by the other house and become final. So it will be back for that final vote on Tuesday and then probably not take effect for 90-days. Senate Democrats walked out of the chamber yesterday before the second vote in protest. President Obama issued a statement critical of the vote to make Michigan a Right to Work State saying he opposes measures which deny worker rights.
The president will be coming to Michigan Monday, while the debate is still underway to talk about the fiscal cliff. He is scheduled to visit an engine plant in Redford. WMU Political Science Professor John Clark says while republicans may believe there are economic benefits to right to Work, he believes there is a purely political reason they have pursued the legislation. He says the unions support causes and candidates they oppose. Dr. Clark says that is also one of the reasons he believes this was pushed through during Lame Duck.
Republicans tacked a million dollar spending provision on the bill, making it ineligible for challenge by referendum. Governor Snyder has specifically exempted Police and Fire Unions, saying they are special, but not exempted teachers. Large crowds of protesters are expected to be back next week for the final vote.