LANSING, Mich. (Michigan News Source) – While the Senate passed a version of the repeal of the right-to-work law, the package of bills which would also reinstate a prevailing wage standard will go back to the House for a vote rather than go forward to the Governor’s desk for a signature.
The Democrat majority Senate voted 20 yes votes to 17 no votes in favor of their own version of the House passed bills including the repeal of the right-to-work law. The Senate took up the bill that would address laws for the private sector, though some voiced their hope that negotiations with the House would continue.
“As we come together today to repeal this unpopular, anti-union law, I stand here proudly,” State Senator Darrin Camilleri (D-Trenton) said. “Not only are we making history and doing something that no state has done in nearly 60 years, with this repeal we are making a future for our state’s workers, creating opportunity for the next generation of Michigan families, and stating clearly that we are restoring the union promise in our state. Today is a first step toward a new era of Michigan governance.”
Senate Majority Leader and Senator Winnie Brinks (D-Grand Rapids) shared Rep. Camilleri’s optimism for creating more opportunities for jobs in the state.
“We’ve talked a lot about bringing good job creators here to our state and that’s important, but we haven’t talked nearly enough about how we are going to attract and keep workers and their families,” Senator Brinks said, “It’s time to once again make Michigan known as a place where workers want to come.”
Several of the 17 no voters also offered their reasons for their votes, including Senate Minority Leader Aric Nesbitt (R- Porter Township).
“[Michigan] became a place where growth was possible,” Senator Nesbitt said, “What did happen, tens of thousands of individuals, individual workers, 150,000 Michiganders made the free choice to leave their union and negotiate for themselves. Free of compulsive dues and restrictive and collectivist mandates. But that competitiveness, that economic growth, that free for workers all appear to be on the chopping block with this Governor and this slim Democrat big majorities.”
Senator Kevin Daley (R-Lum) shared how his time in the legislature since 2008 has had record lows and new highs for Michigan’s economy, which is threatened by the new bill.
“Michigan ranked in the bottom-two states in economic development, today we rank in the top half of all the states,” Senator Daley said, “We are officially competitive. We did it by making our state more competitive by giving our workers freedom by restoring some common sense to help businesses get off the ground.”
Michigan’s Senate version of the bills, includes a $1 million appropriation to respond to public inquiries and to “inform employers, employees and labor organizations about changes to their rights and responsibilities.”
Senators Camilleri and Brinks, and then State Senator Gretchen Whitmer were among the thousands of protestors who gathered outside the capitol in 2012 to protest the right-to-work bill advancement.
Since the time of the bills passing, Michigan union membership has dropped from nearly 629,000 to roughly 589,000 according to statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The House passed the bills by a margin of 56 yes votes to 53 no votes late last Wednesday night after representatives discussed it on the floor.