House Dems Call on Republicans to Take a Stand on Right-to-Work

Conference committee will let middle-class workers have their say
Monday, December 10, 2012
House Democratic Leader Richard E. Hammel (Mt. Morris Twp.) speaks at a press conference with current and future members of the House Democratic Caucus asking Republicans to send right-to-work bills to conference committee for discussion. To the left and right of Hammel, respectively, are Representative-Elect Winnie Brinks (D-Grand Rapids) and House Democratic Leader-Elect Tim Greimel (Auburn Hills), who also spoke at the press conference.

LANSING — Members of the House Democratic Caucus called on Republicans in the Legislature to stand up to their leadership and do what’s best for middle-class workers and the democratic process by sending controversial right-to-work legislation to conference committee. Leading the call were House Democratic Leader Richard E. Hammel (Mt. Morris Twp.), House Democratic Leader-Elect Tim Greimel (Auburn Hills) and Representative-Elect Winnie Brinks (D-Grand Rapids).

“This legislation went from floor introduction to passage in 90 minutes — no hearings, no testimony. The people affected by this bill never got their say,” Hammel said. “We urge the Republicans who supported this bill to do what’s right for their constituents and give the middle-class families of Michigan a voice. Let the workers be heard.”

Despite claims, so-called “right-to-work” laws don’t give workers any rights. Federal law already makes it illegal to be forced into a union. What they do is weaken collective bargaining by letting employees opt out of paying dues while enjoying all the benefits collective bargaining provides, such as higher wages, better benefits and safer working conditions.

“Don’t be fooled by the talk about workers’ rights — this is an assault on collective bargaining and, therefore, an assault of the economic well-being of middle-class Michiganders,” Greimel said. “The governor previously said this issue was too divisive for Michigan, but now he’s pursuing legislation that will drive down wages for working men and women across the state. We’ve seen it happen in other states, and we don’t want to see it here.”

After raising taxes on seniors and middle-class families, cutting unemployment benefits and slashing education funding, all to pay for a massive tax cut for corporations, the voters spoke in November and rejected those policies. Instead of listening to Michigan residents, legislative Republicans doubled down on their assault on the middle class.

“Legislation like this is not why voters sent me to Lansing. They want to see the parties working together to create laws that benefit middle-class families like theirs,” Brinks said. “Instead, Republicans are creating more division by pushing right-to-work laws. If nothing else, we urge them to send these bills to conference committee to give both sides — and the people they represent — a say in bills with such a huge impact on working Michiganders.”