Effort Begins Today to Reverse Wrong-Headed “Right-to-Work” Laws

Dec 11, 2012

U.S. Rep. Sander Levin (D-MI) today made the following statement after the Michigan State House and Senate approved so-called right-to-work bills:

“The Governor and Republican legislature may have made the radical right special interests happy today, but this stain on Michigan's proud heritage will not be allowed to stand. Michigan played a key role in giving workers a meaningful voice in the workplace, helping to create a strong middle class and setting the stage for effective labor-management relations in industry and beyond. The effort to reverse this wrong-headed action and restore a Michigan that encourages middle class jobs and race to the top for its workers – not a crash to the bottom – begins today.”

Earlier today, Rep. Levin discussed the issue on CNN:



“So called right-to-work will cripple the efforts of a union to represent people in the workplace and that representation helped to create the middle class. Look at labor relations in Michigan today, how the Big Three came back through a cooperative relationship between the union and management. And essentially what so-called right-to-work legislation will do is destroy that kind of relationship. It will create immense division. It's a terrible idea.” 

“The Governor, he doesn’t understand labor management relations. He misdescribed what the issue is. Nobody has to join a union or pay union dues. If a majority votes to be represented, to have a voice in the workplace, that representative has to represent everybody. There can be no discrimination. All the benefits have to flow to everybody else and they have to pay everybody a reasonable fee to help the union represent everybody. So essentially it is anti-union.”

“People in Michigan understand that having a representative, a voice in the workplace, created the middle class, decent wages, decent working conditions. And essentially what so-called right to work says is everybody essentially can benefit from representation, but they don't have to pay their fair share. That will cripple the ability of people to be represented in the workplace. The governor misstates what this is all about. It's not union dues. It's not having to be a union member. It's if a majority selected representative, everybody has to benefit equally, so everybody should pay a fair share of that representation. They don't pay for political activities. None of that, so the governor, I met with him yesterday and he misstated. He doesn't understand what made Michigan the ideal place, what made the middle class, and that was workers having a voice in the workplace.”

“Ask the leaders of the Big Three, do they want unions to be able to be represented, people represented, have a voice in the workplace? And they say that's better for economic development in Michigan and the governor will divide Michigan, that will be his legacy, and that is a frightful legacy not only for him but for the people of the state of Michigan.”