Advance Notice: Briefs

Right to Work repeal 1st bills for new Labor Caucus members

By: - January 10, 2019 6:14 pm

Right to Work protest at the Michigan Capitol, December 2012 | Susan J. Demas

The first bills that will be introduced by members of the new Legislative Labor Caucus are familiar ones repealing Right to Work.

The legislation signed by GOP former Gov. Rick Snyder in 2012 was a huge blow to the labor movement in Michigan, the home of the UAW. The law makes it easier for workers not to join a union or pay dues while still receiving benefits from the union in their workplace.

“We just thought it was important, especially for the Labor Caucus as a whole, to choose its first bills wisely to express exactly what we stand for and who we represent in the state of Michigan,” caucus Chair Rep. Brian Elder (D-Bay City) told the Advance on Thursday.

Democrats have introduced bills killing RTW every session since its passage. Elder said that he is sponsoring House Bill 4034 repealing RTW in the private sector. His Labor Caucus colleague, state Rep. John Chirkun (D-Roseville), is introducing HB 4033, ending the law for public sector. The bills are modeled on HB 4146 and HB 4147 from the 2017-18 legislative session.

Elder founded the Labor Caucus during the Lame Duck session in December. He said on Thursday he hopes to gain bipartisan support this term, noting that some Republicans back labor priorities.

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Susan J. Demas

Susan J. Demas is a 23-year journalism veteran and one of the state’s foremost experts on Michigan politics, appearing on C-SPAN, MSNBC, CNN, NPR and WKAR-TV’s “Off the Record.” In addition to serving as Editor-in-Chief, she is the Advance’s chief columnist, writing on women, LGBTQ people, the state budget, the economy and more. For almost five years, Susan was the Editor and Publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, the most-cited political newsletter in the state. Susan’s award-winning political analysis has run in more than 100 national, international and regional media outlets, including the Guardian U.K., NBC News, the New York Times, the Detroit News and MLive.