DETROIT (WWJ) – The UAW and other unions are fighting to keep “right-to-work” supporters from changing the state’s labor laws.
The “We are the People” Coalition is starting a petition drive to create a ballot measure that, if passed, would amend Michigan’s constitution and prevent it from becoming a right-to-work state.
“What has really been the catalyst for this is the fact that right-to-work just passed in Indiana, and of course there is this fear that this would snowball and the right-to-work legislation would move through other midwestern states,” said Labor Historian Mike Smith.”So, I think the labor movement needs to stop it in its tracks.”
People who support right-to-work say it would make Michigan a more attractive place to do business.
Opponents believe it’s an attempt to break down unions and the protection they offer workers.
“You’re going to get a lot of support from citizens, especially since this is a strong union state. Still, there are a lot of folks who belong to unions, who feel threatened, and these people vote,” said Smith. “However, since we have a Republican House and a Republican Senate, there is plenty of support for right to work.”
Nearly 18 percent of the state’s workers belong to a union. Michigan has the fifth-highest percentage of unionized workers in the U.S.