Michigan poised to restore workplace fairness and equality for all workersThursday, December 6, 2012
LANSING, Mich. - Gov. Rick Snyder, Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville and Speaker of the House Jase Bolger today announced that the Legislature will move forward with legislation to enact freedom-to-work laws.
Freedom-to-work laws will improve the lives of countless Michigan families by restoring workplace fairness and equality for all workers. In addition, the laws will attract more new jobs and new career opportunities for Michigan workers.
"We respect the fact that the freedom-to-work issue evokes strong emotions among supporters and opponents," said Snyder, who supports collective bargaining. "That's why we've focused on other reforms that are so critical to Michigan's turnaround. But with this issue now on the table, it's time to embrace the benefits that come with giving working men and women the freedom they deserve. The values of freedom, fairness and equality in the workplace should unite us all. And as states fiercely compete for jobs, this legislation will ensure that investors know Michigan is the place to do business."
The three leaders agreed that it is wrong for Michigan workers to be forced to join or provide financial support to any organization they do not wish to join. They also agreed, however, that collective bargaining is an important right that should remain and workers should have a right to join a union if that's the best decision for them and their families.
"I have long been a supporter of collective bargaining, but whether you support collective bargaining or not, it should be the worker's freedom to choose whether or not he or she belongs to a union," said Richardville, R-Monroe. "There has been a lot of talk and discussion on this issue, but what this ultimately comes down to is the individual worker. I support Michigan workers and I support their freedom to choose."
The pro-worker legislation that will start moving through the Legislature today will ensure fairness for workers while making Michigan more competitive for attracting new jobs and career opportunities.
"This issue has been discussed and debated for decades in Michigan and across the country. It's time we restored the freedom of workers to the workplace in Michigan," said Bolger, R-Marshall. "Collective bargaining and unions have played an important role in Michigan's history and have an important role to play in its future. But this is about Michigan workers - the men and women who work hard every day to support their families. Unions will still have the freedom to make their case, but now workers will have the freedom to make their choice."
The legislation preserves the status afforded to police and firefighters under Public Act 312.
It is the intention of Senate Majority Leader Richardville and Speaker Bolger to complete work on the bills and present them to the governor for his review by the end of the currently scheduled legislative session.