Gov. signs Right to Work

Tribune Staff • Jul 21, 2015 at 11:55 AM

Gov. Rick Snyder called a news conference late Tuesday afternoon to announce that he signed House Bill 4003 and Senate Bill 116, making Michigan the 24th state to enact freedom-to-work laws.

“These new laws are pro-worker and pro-Michigan,” Snyder said. “Workers deserve the right to decide for themselves whether union membership benefits them. We also must make Michigan more inviting to job providers so our families can enjoy more and better jobs. Introducing freedom-to-work in Michigan will contribute to our state’s economic comeback while preserving the roles of unions and collective bargaining.”

Zack Pohl, executive director of Progress Michigan — the main group opposing the legislation — quickly issued a counter-statement: "It's clear Rick Snyder is one weak geek," Pohl said. "Signing these bills under the cover of darkness behind closed doors is the ultimate slap in the face to Michigan's middle-class families."

Michigan Senate Bill 116 was sponsored by Sen. Arlan Meekhof, R-West Olive.

“By passing freedom-to-choose legislation, we are announcing to the world that Michigan is ‘open for business’ and open to new opportunities,” Meekhof said. “Ensuring fairness and equality in the workplace is both pro-employee and pro-employer. It will help build a strong economy with more jobs and empower Michigan families to decide what to do with their hard-earned dollars."

State Rep. Amanda Price, R-Park Township, said Tuesday is an historic day for Michigan.

"I am proud to have cast my vote in support of the most pro-worker legislation this state has ever seen — legislation that will ensure fairness in the workplace, and embodies the freedom our state and our nation have embraced since their inception," Price said. "Since coming to Lansing, my main focus has been job creation and economic development, and this freedom-to-work legislation will keep Michigan on the path to economic prosperity by fostering a climate ripe for job providers and workers alike."

Meekhof said his measure prohibits private sector workers from being required to join or pay dues to a labor organization as a condition of employment. House Bill 4003 provides the same protections for public employees, except police and firefighters covered under binding arbitration.

— WZZM-TV contributed to this report.

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