By Kristen M. Daum
Republicans in the state House began considering legislation this afternoon to make Michigan the 24th state with a right-to-work law, while the Senate was poised to consider similar legislation today.
The House’s debate came barely four hours after Republican Gov. Rick Snyder and legislative leaders announced
their definite decision to pursue the legislation during the lame-duck session, after days of speculation around the
House Republicans used an existing piece of labor legislation - House Bill 4054 - to bring the right-to-work
provisions forward for consideration. According to legislative records, HB 4054 had been dormant since it was
introduced in January 2011, until it was suddenly reported out of committee on Wednesday.
Because it was already considered in a House committee, the bill will be brought to the House floor for a final vote
this afternoon. Democrats repeatedly disrupted the House floor with their objections as the bill came forward. They
forced the clerk to read the revised bill in its entirety prior to debate, which is ongoing at this hour.
Several Democrats spoke on the floor, voicing their frustrations with Republicans’ decision to move so quickly on
“Why can’t you take this to the voters? Because you won’t have the votes! This is an outrage!” said Rep. Brandon
Dillion, D-Grand Rapids said, in one of several such speeches that drew roaring cheers and applause from fellow
Republican legislative leaders said earlier Thursday that they wanted to usher through the right-to-work bill within
the “next few days.”
As House members considered the bill, loud boos and chants from protestors out in the Capitol rotunda could be
heard within the House chamber.
Right-to-work laws make it illegal to force workers to join a union or pay union dues as a condition of employment.
Snyder and other Republicans said they feel such a law would promote business and job growth in Michigan, but
unions say the law will diminish workers’ rights.
Rep. Vicki Barnett, D-Farmington Hills, said Republicans added an appropriation to HB 4054, which would make it
immune from being subject to repeal through a ballot referendum.