Legislative leaders in Lansing are debating whether to introduce divisive right-to-work legislation that would limit unions' ability to collect fees from nonunion workers.
The Michigan Chamber of Commerce on Monday announced its support for such legislation.
Michigan lawmakers are returning Tuesday for the first of three sessions this week. And backers of right-to-work legislation announced a new lobbying effort.
The majority of Michigan voters had no interest last month in approving a ballot proposal that would have enshrined collective bargaining rights in the Michigan Constitution and ban right-to-work laws limiting unions' ability to collect fees from nonunion workers.
That provided an invitation for some Republican leaders to come forward with right-to-work legislation. But the idea has raised opposition in a state with long and strong ties to labor unions.
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Pressure mounts on Michigan lawmakers over Right to Work
Michigan governor, legislature push to get Right to Work vote
You can feel the momentum and drumbeat is getting louder for the Michigan legislature to put Right to Work on the table.
That bill would mean workers would no longer be forced to join and pay union dues to work anywhere in the state. Rumors swirled that the legislation would be introduced on Thursday. It was not.
Instead, Gov. Rick Snyder, Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville and House Speaker Jase Bolger met privately to discuss the issue. When Snyder was elected he said he had no intention of pushing Right to Work and told the House and Senate he had no interest in the discussion. Then labor leaders pushed Proposal 2 which failed spectacularly. Now, legislators are pushing to put Right to Work up for a vote.
Read more: Will Michigan become Right to Work state?
There are enough votes to get this passed in the State House and there probably will be in the State Senate as well. The rank and file means they expect it to be run next week. Senate Majority Leader Richardville is not convinced this is the time.
"Everything we do up here has consequences, both good and bad. Some of them are political, some are good for the economy, some may be better, some worse," he said.
The next big question is will Governor Snyder sign it. That answer is maybe.
A vote on Right to Work in Michigan will have national ramifications for the labor movement. The backlash will be loud, ugly and unrelenting.
This isn’t the only controversial issue on the table. The state House killed a bill that would set up a health care exchange here in Michigan which are mandated under Obamacare.
Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette may be happy with that decision but what it means is the federal government will now control whatever exchange ends up being instituted here.