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‘Right To Work’ Part Of Discussions On Roads Package

Negotiations between Republicans and Democrats at the state Capitol over road funding may have resurrected the controversy over Michigan’s right-to-work law.

As we hear from The Michigan Public Radio Network’s Rick Pluta, some unions and Democrats are calling for some changes to the law.

They want union locals to be able to charge a “bargaining fee” to members who won’t pay dues under the right-to-work law. It’s one of several conditions Democrats have put on the table since Republicans can’t get the votes for a roads deal on their own.

State House Democratic Leader Tim Greimel says that’s a fair demand, since Republicans pushed right to work through the Legislature two years ago.

“Because they know that ultimately, it undermines labor organizations, and undermines their ability to negotiate higher wages and benefits for workers,” he says.

Representative Mike Shirkey sponsored the right-to-work law, and he says re-visiting the issue is a non-starter with him and a lot of other Republicans.

‘Not only do I think it’s a bad idea, it’s a hell of a bad idea, and I’d probably oppose that with just about everything that I’ve got.”

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987. His journalism background includes stints with UPI, The Elizabeth (NJ) Daily Journal, The (Pontiac, MI) Oakland Press, and WJR. He is also a lifelong public radio listener.
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