The GOP controlled State House in Michigan has passed a "right to work" bill by a vote of 58-52. It was received by vocal Democratic opposition and union protests.
Even after the 2012 US Elections, there are still battles being fought between the Republicans and Democrats. At a national level, there are several battles being fought between Democrats and Republicans at the United States Capitol in regards to reaching an agreement on how to handle the “fiscal cliff crisis.” Keep in mind there are plenty of political battles to be fought on a state level. While there are US Senate and House seats up for grabs in 2014, there are State House and Senate seats up for grabs as well in that year. One such major political battle is being waged in Michigan between Republicans and Democrats. So far, this could play a role in what happens in Michigan come the 2014 US Elections.
In a 58-52 vote, the Republican-controlled Michigan State House of Representatives passed House Bill 4054 which is known as the “right to work” bill. However, the bill has to wait the next day before it can be placed on the Michigan State Senate floor. So far, the bill was passed despite opposition from Democrats and protesters. According to proponents of House Bill 4054, which are mainly Republicans, it prevents private unions from taking funds from non-union employees. Opponents, which include Democrats and protesters, say that it weakens the unions' ability to bargain for better wages and benefits.
Michigan House Republicans are backed by GOP Governor Rick Snyder. So far, the passing of this bill can be tacked upon the losses that organized labor is suffering in the Rust Belt region. Snyder is giving his support to the bill and giving justification saying it's to bring together the people of Michigan.
Republicans were met with protests inside the Capitol.
In one report, several protesters were on the receiving end of mace as they tried to rush the Michigan Senate Floor. A few arrests were made in the process. Before 5PM, protesters that were locked out were allowed back inside. They quickly streamed inside the capitol building with support from the Democrats. Inside the Michigan State Capitol, union members protesting the passage of the bill chanted “Hell no, we won't go!”
On the floor, Democrats vocally gave their opposition to the bill. One such example Democratic Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer.
Even US President Barack Obama weighed in on the situation. Obama was in Michigan to supposedly speak his case on the fiscal cliff. The one disagreement the Democrats and the GOP have is the tax rates on the upper 2% of top American earners. Obama and the Democrats are calling for the tax increases on them while GOP House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio and the other Republicans don't want those tax rates increased.
In the case of Michigan, Obama has given his opposition to such laws. According to Matt Lehrich, a spokesperson for the White House, Obama believes that the economy gets strong provided workers get good wages and benefits. Huffington Post reports that Obama's opposition to Michigan House Bill 4054 is hailed as an increase of morale for labor activists.
While Obama is speaking out against the bill, economists challenge the bill. One professor at Michigan State University said that “right to work” is not at the top of employers' lists. According to another MSU professor, passage of a right to work bill wouldn't make much of an impact. Also, the professor adds that right to work will mainly attract the low-wage jobs. Economists are saying that the passage of the bill will lead to something very detrimental for Michigan for the years.
How this plays out will have an impact on future elections. It's obvious that it will play a role in the 2014 elections in Michigan. However, this could play a role in other state elections as governors, state congresses, state senates, and so forth in other states may propose the same idea.