Tuesday, June 18, 2024

‘Right to work’ in spotlight after Michigan tosses law aside - Yahoo News

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Michigan on Friday became the first state in nearly six decades to repeal its “right-to-work” law, marking a rare legislative victory for unions that have seen their influence decrease dramatically in recent decades.

“Today, we are coming together to restore workers’ rights, protect Michiganders on the job and grow Michigan’s middle class,” the state’s Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said after signing the bill.

Right-to-work laws allow workers in unionized workplaces to decline to pay dues even if their wages, benefits and employment rules are set by a union contract. These laws have been a popular tool of union-skeptic lawmakers since the mid-20th century, when a wave of conservative states enacted them following the New Deal era’s union boom. It wasn’t until the early 2010s, following a red wave midterm election, that Republican legislators succeeded in bringing right-to-work laws to states that had once been at the heart of the American labor movement — including Michigan, Wisconsin and Indiana.

This expansion of right-to-work laws indicated just how much unions have declined in power. In 2022, just 10% of American workers belonged to a union, the lowest rate on record since the government began tracking union membership in the early 1980s.


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