Right to work legislation could be introduced - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Right to work legislation could be introduced

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(12/04/12) - There's plenty of reaction around the state, Tuesday, about the right to work legislation.

GOP senate and house leaders met with the Governor to discuss the issue that could make its way through the legislature before the end of the year.

Before December ends, the Republican-led legislature could draft a right to work bill, which would secure the right of employees to decide whether to join or financially support a union. But some say not so fast.

"So our question is why do this if it's not to attack unions?"

UAW Region IC director Norwood Jewell says right to work doesn't make sense for Michigan. "If you take a look around the country with state's that have RTW legislation, the average hourly wage is much less than state's that are not RTW, benefits aren't as good and it doesn't show any advantage of businesses doing business."

But supporters disagree. The Mackinac Center for Public Policy in Midland says job creators would see Michigan as a more competitive state.

"You look at other right to work states, look at their population growth, job growth all of that will come to Michigan if they pass a right to work law and hang out a big sign to business saying 'we're open.' We now have a right to work neighbor in Indiana and we have to compete with that neighbor for jobs," said Vinnie Vernuccio, Labor Policy director.

A right to work law would also mean unions can't get rid of employees for refusing to pay union dues. Director Jewell says the labor management relationship has been good for Michigan union and non-union.

"What no one says is that unions would have to represent people who don't pay union dues as much as they do the ones that do under the law," Jewell said.

"Right to work actually helps unions, even though you hear things like it hurts unions, kills union, nothing can be further from the truth, it simply gives workers a choice," Vernuccio said.

If passed, Michigan would be the twenty-fourth state to enact a right to work law.

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