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 21-year journalism veteran and one of the state’s foremost experts on Michigan politics, appearing on 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, LGBTQs, the state budget, the economy and more. Most recently, she served as Vice President of Farough & Associates, Michigan’s premier political communications firm. 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 80 national, international and regional media outlets, including the Guardian U.K., NBC News, the New York Times, the Detroit News and MLive. She is the only Michigan journalist to be named to the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Reporters,” the Huffington Post’s list of “Best Political Tweeters” and the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Bloggers.” Susan was the recipient of a prestigious Knight Foundation fellowship in nonprofits and politics. She served as Deputy Editor for MIRS News and helped launch the Michigan Truth Squad, the Center for Michigan’s fact-checking project. She started her journalism career reporting on the Iowa caucuses for The (Cedar Rapids) Gazette. Susan has hiked over 4,000 solo miles across four continents and climbed more than 70 mountains. She also enjoys dragging her husband and two teenagers along, even if no one else wants to sleep in a tent anymore.