REDFORD TWP. (WWJ) – Speaking in metro Detroit on Monday, President Barack Obama took a break from his talk about taxes to address the contentious right-to-work issue now on the table in Lansing.
“I just gotta say this: What we shouldn’t be doing is trying to take away your rights to bargain for better wages and working conditions,” said President Obama, to thunderous applause from a crowd at the Daimler Detroit Diesel plant in Wayne County’s Redford Township.
“These so-called right-to-work laws, they don’t have to do with economics; they have everything to do with politics. What they’re really talking about is giving you the right to work for less money,” he said.
Obama said workers need to be able to afford to buy what they make.
“American’s not gonna compete based on low-skill, low-wage, no workers rights — that’s not our competitive advantage,” Obama said. “There’s always gonna be come other country that can treat its workers even worse.”
Meanwhile, the President also put in a plug for his plea to reverse tax cuts to the rich as a way of avoiding going off the fiscal cliff.
Obama’s visit comes after Michigan Republicans pushed right-to-work legislation through the state House and Senate.
In general, right-to-work laws prohibit requiring unions from collecting fees from non-union employees, which opponents say drains unions of money and weakens their ability to bargain for good wages and benefits. Supporters insist it would boost the economy and job creation.
Union leaders, workers and supporters are protesting passage of the laws, which would make Michigan the nation’s 24th right-to-work state.
Mass protests are planned for Tuesday.
Republican Gov. Rick Snyder has pledged to sign the legislation.
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