The Right to Work law debate is in the national news — Republican presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney insists it would be good for the country — and it’s a big topic right here in the Great Lakes, too.
Right to Work laws mean employees can’t be required to pay union dues, even if a union is formed in their workplace. There are 22 states around the country with Right to Work laws, many in the South, but there are none in the Great Lakes states, which have long been union strong holds.
On Tuesday, the governors in Michigan and Indiana, who’ve faced off in the past, weighed in on the subject with sharply differing views. Michigan’s Republican governor, Rick Snyder, said passing a Right to Work law is not a priority for him this year, even though some lawmakers say they plan to push for it.
Rick Pluta, at our partner station Michigan Radio, reports Snyder says a Right to Work debate would distract the state from the repair work it needs to do on the economy.
“…to get into a very divisive debate like that, you create an environment where not much gets done and I would point to Wisconsin, I’d point to Ohio. If you look at Indiana, that’s kind of consuming all the dialogue in that state,” Snyder said at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
In Indiana, Democratic lawmakers have refused to let the legislature consider the Right to Work law that Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels proposed last month.
Daniels previously had resisted the same efforts Snyder faces. But in his state of the state address, Daniels said,
“Everyone knows that, among the minority favoring the status quo, passion on this issue is strong, and I respect that. I did not come lightly, or quickly, to the stance I take now. If this proposal limited in any way the right to organize, I would not support it. But we just cannot go on missing out on the middle class jobs our state needs, just because of this one issue.”
Daniels faced protestors during his speech, who shouted, “kill the bill” and marched outside the state capitol rotunda.
Where do you stand on Right to Work? Do our Great Lakes states need it to be competitive?