Now that Governor Rick Snyder signed Right-to-Work-for-less...

Into law in Michigan, the focus shifts to how working people can overturn the legislation. Unfortunately, Republicans purposefully designed the law to make this task more difficult. By attaching Right-to-Work-for-less to a budget appropriations bill, Republicans made it harder for Michigan voters to repeal the law down the road. According to the Michigan Constitution, voter referendums do not apply to budget appropriations bill. However, ballot initiatives do. And also according to the Michigan Constitution, voters have “the power to propose laws and to enact and reject laws, called the initiative.”

In other words, Michigan workers can restore any of their lost wages and collective bargaining power as a result of this law by gathering enough signatures for a ballot initiative. It would only require roughly 260,000 signatures to put Right-to-Work-for-less up for repeal through a ballot initiative.

So now it’s time to get to work. Let’s hope this was a “Todd Akin” moment, and that Governor Snyder and Republicans, who drastically overreached with this latest attack on unions, will eventually regret it. If working people stay organized, then the right wing’s assault on working people will end in Michigan, and organized labor in America can finally go on the offensive once again.


Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 10 years 14 weeks ago

What if there was a mass exodus out of Michigan leaving no workers to make money for Michigan's wealthy. Their factories and stores and malls would look like ghost towns..not to mention their towns and cities would look like ghost towns. Property values would plummet. Or, has this already happened to some extent? Michael Moore's documentaries have shown what it would be like...what if this situation was increased dramatically all over Michigan? I remember reading Michael Hudson, the economist, who told how the economy in Latvia and other European countries has driven most of the able workers out of the country into other neighbor countries seeking employment in order to survive. That happened during the 1929 depression in the US as well...masses of hungry people leaving home and roaming the country in search of the means of survival.

pjsemail1's picture
pjsemail1 10 years 14 weeks ago

This is a story that my wife's uncle told about working in an OPEN shop at Boeing (Seattle). At one time, Boeing was an open shop, being it was voluntary to be a Union member (or Not). This wasn't a state (right to work for less) Law, but was part of the Union contract with Boeing, probable came about right after the War went the Aircraft industry was barely making it and many of the WWII Aircraft companies were going under.

Uncle Bill told stories of Union Members drilling into the tool boxes on the non-Union works and pumping them full of grease; sabotage their work, so they'd have to do it over; getting in their way and generally messing with them as much as possible.

As Boeing’s 707 passenger Jet, along with Military orders for the cold war, took off, during the "Boeing Bloom", the Union’s negotiated to have a closed Shop, ALL hourly works had to be Union, dues paying members.

Will company’s production efficiencies suffer in an OPEN shop? What about work place moral with paying and Non-paying workers?

ken ware's picture
ken ware 10 years 14 weeks ago

I am not sure there would be enough jobs in other states to accommodate a mass exodus or workers. And as we have seen in the shale oil boom in the northern states that there is not enough infrastructure to support an exodus of workers. The housing, schools and local police and fire department had difficulty keeping up with new workers entering their area. As far as non-union workers getting along with union members, we have seen how union members see non-union employees as scab workers out to lower their standard of living. How about the Unions work for a better wage and benefits package for their due paying members and let the non-union workers negotiate on their own with the corporations. That could end up with workers lining up to stay in the union and pay their union dues to get representation. I know from personal experience that those of us in the union viewed non-union workers with distain and loathing. It will be interesting to see these two groups of workers get along in the workplace. I realize everyone has the right not to pay union dues in these right to work (for less) states, but I wonder how well these two groups will actually work together. This whole situation might just blow up in the face of the corporations and states that have passed these laws, especially when it comes to the quality of work these two groups will produce. Personally, my experience has been the Unions have always helped to provide security and a better standard of living for their members.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 10 years 14 weeks ago

I'm sure you can find stories of both union members and non-union members doing underhanded things to one another but one thing you will never find is union members raiding the homes of wealthy industrialists and murdering the occupants...they have never slit the throats of industrialists or management using hired bully boys...they have never opened fire with machine guns on families of wealthy industrialists or forced them out of their homes and into the streets. But the wealthy industrialists have done all those things, and much more, to union members and their families. When non-union workers agree to work outside of a union they are, in effect, agreeing to everything the employers dictate..including low wages, longer and unpaid work hours, and sacrifice of benefits. But, if it wasn't for the fear, by the employer, that the company would go totally 100% union, if they didn't have that pressure on them, they wouldn't give their non-union employees as much as they have. In other words, even the non-union employees are taking advantage of the union....all without having to pay dues. The non-union slackers, or freeloaders, like scabs are a weakness to the overall goals of making the employers pay decent wages, etc.

am4dems12's picture
am4dems12 10 years 14 weeks ago

You've said it so well . but lets see what tricks the opposing teams have up their sleeves ,we all know the good that the unions have done for the labor force in this country but, somehow they've turned things around and now the general labor keeps hearing the lies and untruths and somehow they believe it .

am4dems12's picture
am4dems12 10 years 14 weeks ago

so right, and after all of the benefits that the non union workers will recieve without paying dues, they will still bad talk the unions (thinking that the company is actually willing to pay these higher wages and benefits without the union involvement) well what their not seeing is that if the corporations sucseed in ridding their company of the unions, THERE GOES ALL OF THOSE HIGHER WAGES AND BENEFITS that they thought were willfully given.

Mauiman2's picture
Mauiman2 10 years 14 weeks ago

The giant sucking sound you now hear in that part of the country are all the jobs moving from Ohio and Ilinois to Michigan and Indiana.

am4dems12's picture
am4dems12 10 years 14 weeks ago

It's already easy to see where a car comes from (union plant versus non union plant ) just do a sight inspection of the vehicles that you know are made in non union companys and that will tell the story rite of way. most of the plants in the lower states that have opened to take work from the union plants produce junk compared to the union shops. and the whereabouts of their origin is somewhat hidden for that reason. ? would you have wanted to be in a high rise building in A/C or new york during huricane sandy , that was built by non union workers ???

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 10 years 14 weeks ago

That's true, Ken, there would likely not be any more jobs anywhere else either.

I just watched an interview of Michael Hudson, the economist, on the Max Keiser show. Very scary!

Michael Hudson, the economist, says that we have a "fiction economy" that has no real collateral to back up our savings in the banks. The government and the banks believe that all they have to do is make the public believe that the "fiction economy" is not fiction and that it is necessary to pay down the debt by sacrificing social programs, breaking labor unions, increasing taxes on consumers, and canceling the pension fund debt, etc., in order to save the system. But, in reality, what they are doing is transferring large funds from the 99% to the 1%. It's "the greatest rip off in history all wrapped in the fiction that the debt can be paid." The debt cannot be paid and it won't be paid. But they are using that as an excuse to rob the 99%. The government will end up saying only the bottom 99% will have to pay the debt but the top 1% won't have to pay any of the debt.

The Obama administration's plan is to cut worker's wages by 30%, take away social security, medicare, and other social programs and cancel pension fund debt. The reason why the Obama administration has been able to raise so much money from major financial criminals....Eric Holder has promised that no rich campaign contributors will go to banker will go to jail..only the small fry will. William Black has said that the only criminals arrested was when Bernie Madoff walked into the police headquarters with his hands up and said "I surrender".

Mauiman2's picture
Mauiman2 10 years 14 weeks ago

am4dms12 I don't know if what you say is true or not, but if it is that is a management/quality control problem that you describe. It is the responsibility of the plant management to put out a good product. Management has to make sure they put the right person in the right place and train them to do the job they are being paid to do. If they can't get enough quality people to do the work, that will force them to offer more money to their new hires in an effort to get better quality employees. Then everyone's boat gets lifted in the rising tide.

Unfortunately in most businesses lately it has been a falling tide. I've been caught in both rising and falling tides, and those of us in the energy business right now are in a rising tide. But it has not always been that way, believe me.

ken ware's picture
ken ware 10 years 14 weeks ago

Perhaps if I watch Hartmann's show tonight I might have a better understanding of how this Union and non-Union employees works. So if the company wants non-Union employees in a union shop, can they simply start a program of attrition where they fire Union workers and hire non-Union workers to replace the union workers. It appears to me that the game of having workers that do not have to pay Union dues is an attempt to slowly starve the Unions of funds and thus they would hurt the chances of Democrats winning an election due to less funding from the union. Am I missing something here? And why would a worker choose not to support a Union when it is the Unions that have had the most luck in getting fair wages and benefits? Although I have seen where the large food chains here in California were able to get a two tier wage and benefits contract from the Union. This is where the new employees are usually hired part time and receive about $9 hr., about half of what they would receive without the two tier wage agreement. If I am missing something here, I would appreciate it if someone could explain to me exactly what the right to work law does to the Unions!

megalomaniac's picture
megalomaniac 10 years 14 weeks ago

My thoughts about the unions; Early on in life my feelings were a mix of emotions. Some good, some not good. Now, rereading the Bill of rights in the First Amendment (Amendment I) to the United States Constitution is part of the Bill of Rights. Intrinsically holds all the elements that we the people should really care about and how this amendment is connected to an assembly of an elected body called a union. The irony is that the overall disrespect we the people have for the unions are parallel to effect of what is in our government representatives. The people’s attitude sucks. The reason why unions have slide in support.

Yes, the amendment prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, thereby making it feel a lot out of place to call someone brethren, or brother, with such a feeling as to be religious. Perhaps those are the individuals who are really masquerading as a union official. But really not. We know in our hearts that there are plenty of representatives in unions that don’t give a shit! The types you talk to about in issues that breach a local contract. The hypocrisy is staggering, where we know the running front union official my very well end up in management. Think about it if the company can find a person to make the worker happy and in line chances are they found a person for their first line management team. Ah La congressional or senate representative quits to think tanks for political or becomes a lobbyist.

Also, abridging the freedom of speech, to reduce the length, to cut short; to curtail, to omit. As Omit Romney, for laughs just had to throw that in. Even in assemblies on the streets is it not a curiosity that a public emissary is not sent out to meet for free speech and air grievances. But a Journalist, a corporate journalist, devoted to a six figure salary schmoozing on the air waves, actually intimidating crowds all the while watching we the people as unionized police beat assemblies, or occupies movements in the street over their heads with batons and spray with pepper spray. We the people get slap around or torture in the streets while the corporate media get profits in commercial ads. Perhaps in the law we the people should make a coral where the media should be. An extraordinary screwed up system with total disrespect for those core elements of the constitution. The new media knows it, but asks why the country is so upset. Why are people taking of lives for stupid reasons?

Then, infringing on the freedom of the press, where Fox news owned a huge amount by the Wahhabi Arabs highly and likely influence the programming of news to fill the hate mongers besides Rush Limbaugh or Dennis Miller or other hate radio specialist that lie, or are outright antithetical to the constitution, meaning they are obstructionist that work in the system of the constitution itself. The current Republicans need the constitution as it stands, and the Democrats the way they are. Just think about it otherwise how could they become billionaires by any other means. Its delightfully simple when you think about it. Republicans need sappy dumb Democrats to be rich. There are millions out there and they know it!!! That’s why we need unions.

akunard's picture
akunard 10 years 14 weeks ago

Detroit, 34.5% on Food Stamps, 45.7% not in labor force. Is this not a "Wasteland"?

George Reiter's picture
George Reiter 10 years 14 weeks ago

We campaigned against Gov. Snyder for the recall on the Emergency Manager Law, and we will continue to campaign for a recall of Gov. Snyder on this Right To Work For Less Law. Let us remember that to be a Republican today, one must be Rich, Cruel, or Politically Ingnorant, and they are not mutually exclusive... The thrust of the Republican agenda is driven by Hate!

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 10 years 14 weeks ago

It's pretty clear that a few billionaires using tools like Snyder and the rest of the Teapublican Party are hellbent on taking us back to a time and place much like the one portrayed in the novel, The Grapes of Wrath....and for what....a few more billion in an offshore bank account? Think of the misery these guys create while feeding their unchecked madness. This country needs leadership more than ever right now. It might do the President some good to give Steinbecks novel another read before meeting with any of the Teapublican monkeys again.

"Fear the time when the strikes stop while the great owners live- for every little beaten strike is proof that the step is being taken......fear the time when manself will not suffer and die for a concept, for this one quality is man, distinctive in the universe."

Chapter 14, The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck

earlymusicus's picture
earlymusicus 10 years 14 weeks ago

I am so weary of the unrelenting attacks on workers in this country. I'm afraid that, even with President Obama in office for a second term, nothing will improve because there are still too many Republicans in power. I'm fed up with the childish vendettas the Republicans are waging because they lost the election. When will they grow up and start caring about the country, instead of their egos and their power trips? Most likely never. Until Tea Party types and Neocons are voted out of office, this country will never improve. Let's face it: we don't stand a chance against the big money guns the Republicans are wielding. It may take the country completely collapsing before stupid voters wake up and stop putting Tea Partiers and Neocons in office. Until that happens, I don't think anything will get better.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 10 years 14 weeks ago

Oliver Stone and American University Professor and Historian, Peter Kuznik were on RT "Breaking the Set" with Abby Martin. They talked about Oliver Stone's and Peter Kusnik's new book and Showtime documentary series "The Untold History of the United States" which is a 10 part series which is up to #6 this week. #7 should be shown starting next Monday. I am really enjoying watching this series as it shows just how much propaganda Americans have been exposed to over the decades and the real reasons behind historical events. This is stuff you just didn't learn in school...

Actually, Norske wrote about it and tells it better than I have...

earlymusicus's picture
earlymusicus 10 years 14 weeks ago

I think President Obama ought to do what Bush did: use signing statements. Why not? What's good for the goose is good for the gander. Bush did it, and he got everything he wanted, whether Congress wanted it or not. I'd like to see the President start kicking some serious bootie - Republican bootie, that is. Enough of this stupid pointless useless bi-partisanship. Bi-partisanship only works if both sides are adult about things. When you have one side that is acting like so many spoiled bratty children throwing temper tantrums- as the Republicans are - bi-partisanship is a total waste of time.

No Fraud's picture
No Fraud 10 years 14 weeks ago

It strikes me as funny....

The same people who support Coporate Personhood are the same people who are anti-union and want to abolish collective bargaining rights.

Hmmm...Something strange a go'en on here!
Its like we are going backwards...Back to the ways we once fought to secede from...Which Corporation will become King!? That will be a bloody campaign war.

historywriter's picture
historywriter 10 years 14 weeks ago

And 47% of Detroit residents are functionally iliterate (I can't get that statistic out of my mind; what kind of society and economic system can be built on this sort of society?). Seems to me there's a lot more wrong in Detroit than the automobile company problems.

Perhaps the United States will have to go through the upheaval of the 1930s labor movement violence and chaos. In Minnesota, we had a "Citizens' Alliance," a group of businessmen and corporations (and their hired guns) who fought, mostly successfully at least in Minneapolis, to keep the unions out. Until 1934, when the Truckers Strike (my father was a truckdriver at the time) violently broke the anti-union back. But only temporarily it appears.

Global's picture
Global 10 years 14 weeks ago

Yea, it is too hard living in a constitutional republic. Lets crown Obama dictator so he and Harry the hack Reid can burn it all down. whaa...whaa...whaa. What a fool.

No Fraud's picture
No Fraud 10 years 14 weeks ago

You so funny.

netactivist99 10 years 14 weeks ago

Not "right to work" but "right to freeload" & "right to steal" -- get union-negotiated salaries, benefits and protections without paying.

Mark Saulys's picture
Mark Saulys 10 years 14 weeks ago

Only they're all poverty wage jobs now.

Mark Saulys's picture
Mark Saulys 10 years 14 weeks ago

That's a WILD stretch. Oligarchic tyranny is not a free, democratic society. Freedom for a small minority (say, 1%) at the expense of everyone else's freedom (e.g., the freedom to enslave everyone else, freedom to pollute everyone's environment, freedom to poison or harm a worker or a consumer, etc.) is anti democratic.

Global's picture
Global 10 years 14 weeks ago

Hey no fraud, you know I am right. You got these knuckleheads wanting to give all this power to these temporary politicians. That is one of my pet peeves when these people jump up and down for some government fix. Never a thought on what the consequences to the next generation. I say cut taxes for the bottom three brackets and extend the same rates for the upper two and go home for Christmas.

gregcreal's picture
gregcreal 10 years 14 weeks ago

The term is not 'Right to Work for Less', it's 'Right to Freeload'. Employees working at Union shops in Right to Freeload States who choose not to support the Union still get all of the benefits of a Collectively Bargained Contract that Union Members pay for with their dues. The freeloaders are just to lazy to bargain one-on-one with the owners of non-Union shops for their own wages, benifits and working conditions, so the parisites suck the life blood out of the hard working dues paying employees. Freeloaders don't have to work at a Union shop. There's plenty of non-Union places to work where they don't have to pay dues. Of course, those places pay far less than Union shops, which is why the greedy blood sucking freeloaders want to work there. It cost's alot of money to go up against Fat Cat Bosses to negotiate contracts that guarantee respect and fairness. The freeloaders and their jack-boot politicians will eventually bankrupt the Unions, and then we will all be serfs. I used to think 'SCABS' were the lowest lifeform in the working persons world.

No Fraud's picture
No Fraud 10 years 14 weeks ago

Christmas!?!? the GOP stole it!
MmmK...Your Idea isn't bad...Just gotta convince Mr. Jon "Grinch" Bohner and Ebenezer "Job Creater" Scrooge to grow a heart for those in the bottom 3 brackets, AND cut Deffence spending in half, rather than cutting wellfare, medicare, and programs that aid those in need of help.
...Christ where's lil' Cindy Lou Who when ya need here?

K from WI's picture
K from WI 10 years 14 weeks ago

Should be renamed The right to work for less amd it allows the non-paying worker to be a freeloader. It allows corporations to fire at will and lower wages and safety for the worker is thrown out the window. Its a win, win situation if you want slave labour. We the people are being paid less, taxed more, less rights, so a few greedy people can have car elevators in their kingdoms.

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