Obama opposes Michigan's right-to-work legislation

President Barack Obama has repeated his opposition to right-to-work laws as the Republican-controlled Michigan Legislature adopted the union-curbing measure.
AP Wire
Dec 7, 2012


The Michigan House and Senate voted Thursday to approve a bill barring unions from collecting mandatory fees from non-members. Republican Gov. Rick Snyder also endorsed it Thursday.

White House spokesman Matt Lehrich said Obama has long opposed right to work laws, "and he continues to oppose them now."

The spokesman said the president believes the economy "is stronger when workers get good wages and good benefits, and he opposes attempts to roll back their rights."

Lehrich said Michigan workers' role in helping reviving the U.S. auto industry shows "how unions have helped build a strong middle class and a strong American economy."



I think you need to get a grip, Lanivan. This post is purely delusional but I know from other comments you have made on other subjects you can be rational and grounded. It just seems that you have placed Obama in a status similar to that stated by Jamie Foxx (http://youtu.be/etPdJtB5OT0)and have to make stuff up to counter any suggestion his status is bogus.


Sorry, Vlad - Everything in my comments regarding Obama is easily verifiable - as I have always said repeatedly. I place Obama in a status that is justified by facts, not lies, biases/prejudices, hatred-driven fears, or delusions/denial. I'm not making anything up, but am getting my information from a variety of reputable sources, including the WSJ and NYTimes. If you wish to disagree because you don't like the man, fine, but don't expect me to accept the "untruths" you and Renegade (and others) perpetuate. Frankly, I am truly mystified why you and the gang continue to believe the lies when confronted with truth. Btw, did you read today that Hostess had been taking money from employees wages ear-marked for pensions and using it on operating expenses?


You say: “The CBO projects that if the 2013 Obama budget is enacted, the total deficit reduction under Obama would make a 4-year total of nearly $500 billion, making the deficit shrink to $1.5 Trillion to $977 Billion

The CBO Report says: “In conjunction with analyzing the President's budget, CBO has updated its baseline budget projections, which were previously issued in January 2012. Unlike its estimates of the President's budget, CBO's baseline projections largely reflect the assumption that current tax and spending laws will remain unchanged, so as to provide a benchmark against which potential legislation can be measured. Under that assumption, CBO estimates that the deficit would total $1.2 trillion in 2012 and that cumulative deficits over the 2013–2022 period would amount to $2.9 trillion. http://www.cbo.gov/publication/4...

No tax changes, no doc fix in Medicare/Medicaid, no defense and other budget cuts under the prior agreement on increasing the debt limit! Remember, CBO only deals with the numbers the Congress gives it.

“CBO estimates Obama's plan would produce 10 years of deficits totaling $9.5 trillion. By 2021, it would increase the debt held by the public to 87 percent of gross domestic product.
The administration, using different methods, estimated budget deficits would total $7.2 trillion over the next 10 years under the 2012 budget. It forecast that total debt in 2021 would be 77 percent of GDP.


You say: “According to the Wall St. Journal Market Watch, Obama is responsible for the lowest gov't spending in 60 years.

From the same Market Watch column: “ By no means did Obama try to reverse that spending. Indeed, his budget proposals called for even more spending in subsequent years. But the Congress…stopped him. If Obama had been a king who could impose his will, perhaps what the Republicans are saying about an Obama spending binge would be accurate. “ Recall that the Senate has failed to pass a budget since Obama was elected, and each of Obama's proposed spending in his budgets has failed to collect a single vote – from Democrats.

If you want to quote sources, you should at least be honest in what the whole article says, instead of cherry-picking quotes that favor Lord Obama.


Ah - the old "cherry-picking" argument folks love to throw about, yet use shamelessly at every opportunity. The problem as I see it is that you and your ilk are apparently still in the pre-election mode when the Romney campaign made fantastic claims such as, "the deficit under Obama has accelerated at a pace without precedent in recent history". Sounds good and scary, but is actually a total lie. That's my point, Vlad - you folks immediately believe and promote that drivel, but when confronted with opposing facts, robotically turn on the "cherry-picking" switch and use big words to confuse the issue. According to this mindset, anything you choose to put into a "liberal" category is automatically and for all time, bad, evil, or worse. Look at the conservative propaganda factory, the Heritage Foundation, which in 1989, proposed universal health care, but couldn't spew enough hate for it 20 years later when Obama proposed it's offspring, the ACA.

As for the WSJ Market Watch comment, fact-finders played with those figures every which way and still couldn't make them show Obama to be anything but the lowest or 2nd lowest spender of the last several decades. You can twist and turn this anyway you want, but it still remains fact.

And now back to RTW - I assume you give the Republican congress a big thumbs up for ramming this legislature through in less than a week during a lame duck session, amid massive public outcry, deliberately attaching appropriations onto it so voters have no choice or vote, and being signed by a governor who has repeatedly said it was not on his agenda? I suppose you will try to convince yourself this is what Democracy is all about. This might backfire as the nation watches.


Back to RTW - Your description is eerily reminiscent of how Democrats pushed through Obamacare using the inappropriate Reconciliation Process.

Lets use Obama's response - I won. Elections have consequences. Get over it.

You seem to forget that only weeks ago the voters drubbed the proposition to make Collective Bargaining a constitutional right, and trump all other labor laws. The RTW law does nothing to inhibit collective bargaining, it simply gives workers that most cherished "Freedom of Choice! Yes indeed, this is what Democracy looks like!


What I find for more eerily inappropriate is the simultaneously chronic and unprecedented abuse of the Filibuster by Repub Senators. The word on the street is that voters drubbed all propositions on principle because they didn't want to amend the Constitution. I wouldn't read much more into it than that. I wouldn't exactly call a law that decreases both union and non-union wages by $1,500/year with no discernible positive economic effect whatsoever as "Freedom of Choice". I know you're home dancing a jig, but this latest move might not have the desired effect. Time will tell.


Right-to-work is the wrong issue for such a ruckus.

The governor's signature Tuesday on a package of right-to-work bills passed by the Legislature the same day will not trigger a stampede of companies rushing into Michigan to invest and create jobs, as proponents claim.
Nor, however, is right-to-work some heinous abrogation of human rights that will be a death knell for labor unions, as opponents wail.

So why all the fuss?

President Barack Obama was correct Monday when he said right-to-work laws are more about politics than economics. It certainly was no coincidence that the GOP's right-to-work push in Lansing came as a furious counterpunch to labor's futile gambit with Proposal 2 to bake pro-union language into Michigan's constitution.

Democrats shriek that Republicans are opportunists and bullies for ramming right-to-work through in the lame duck session with little debate. If that sounds familiar, Republicans did the same sort of whining in 2010 in Washington, D.C., when Democrats passed the Affordable Care Act -- Obamacare -- without bipartisan support.

Welcome to bare-knuckle politics, folks.

Where Obama faltered on Monday was with his too-cute applause line: "What they're really talking about is giving you the right to work for less money." That's a reference to data, oft-cited by unions, showing that most right-to-work states have lower incomes than the U.S. average.

Unfortunately, the personal income and employment trends in Michigan make it more difficult to argue that heavily unionized states do a better job of protecting workers' jobs and incomes.

In 2000, Michigan ranked 16th among U.S. states in personal income per capita. Now, it's in 36th place.

During many of the past dozen years, Michigan had the nation's highest jobless rate. We've improved a bit the past couple of years, but only to sixth worst, with a 9.1% rate.

Michigan, therefore, is hardly a poster child lately for correlating higher unionization levels -- 17.5% here vs. 11.8% nationwide -- with high incomes or job security.

Where Michigan's income data do correlate with the state's ranking -- on a different yardstick -- is educational attainment. Michigan ranks 36th nationally in educational attainment, the percentage of adults with a bachelor's degree or more, and 36th in personal income.

Which brings us back to my original point: Right-to-work is the wrong issue to be frothing about.

In today's world of unprecedented mobility and instant communication, investment and jobs go to places with the top talent, the best educated and most skilled workers.

What is Michigan doing to move the needle on the talent and education levels of our residents?

Not enough, that's for sure.

Instead, we're huffing and puffing about inconclusive data on whether right-to-work even matters, economically, and about whether workers should be compelled to pay dues to organizations that have spotty records of late in securing or protecting jobs and better wages.

Sometimes, it all resembles a brawl between supporters of European soccer teams, where everyone wakes up the next day nursing wounds and bruises.

And for what?


RTW is a misnomer because it doesn't really have anything to do with the right to be able to work. Years of study have shown there is no evidence that RTW automatically brings economic prosperity, more jobs, or even more industry to a state. RTW does tend to decrease wages/benefits for both union and non-union jobs by significant amounts. Which then attracts those mobile, global industries that move around looking for the low skill/low wage worker. Over time, studies show that with lower tax revenues, cuts in education have the very negative effect of a low education/skill work force that is not attractive to the higher wage/benefit industries. They are willing to pay better to get the better educated or higher skilled worker, and will go to the states that offer that package.

Take Alabama - this RTW state has below average unemployment, and has attracted several industries. But 61% of the population is on food stamps. If the citizens of Alabama (a state with a very low ranking on education/training skills) can not earn a wage that allows them to buy adequate amounts of food for their families, what does that tell you about the economic health of the RTW state?


It tells us nothing, because you want us to believe the only problem with Alabama is that it's an RTW state. Here's another view.



Another plug for sites crying out against "forced unionism". More Frank Luntz-inspired conservative rhetoric that deceives because people wouldn't back it if the truth be told. You have, however, summed up my argument. The problem with RTW is that it's almost impossible to equate economic growth to RTW laws. There are many other factors that can be attributed to a states' economic status (lots of natural gas drilling in the Plain states for one example), and when RTW laws are added to the equation, nothing positively significant pops out. It is very well documented that wages/benefits are lower. I'm not saying - in any way - that the only problem with Alabama is that it's a RTW state. Data tells us the wages of the citizens of Alabama, as a RTW state with fairly low unemployment, are not sufficient to keep them from needing food stamps.


Actually, that is copied from a column in yesterday's Detroit Free Press by Tom Walsh. Let see, your modem operandi is whenever you read something at odds with your percepetions/beliefs/values, you immediately attack the source of this material, attempting to discredt the material because you believe the source of said material is questionable (to be charitable). As you may know, the Detroit Free Press is no friend of conservatives in particular and Republicans in general, yet they post this column. Had it appeared on Fox News or the Heritage Foundation, you would discount it out of hand. That it appeared in the progressive Detroit Free Press means what? Original article was published on December 12, 2012. This site's spam filter will not allow me to post the link directly.


You are right Ren - I have developed a bad habit of totally rejecting anything that comes out of any of the far right, tea party conservative think tanks funded by the Brothers Koch and their gang. The minute I see Heritage Foundation, MPPC, etc, I immediately discount it because I firmly believe there strategy and long term goal is to chip away at all the progress over the years that has made America special, great, and leader of the free world. "They" want to erode the middle class piece by piece, while at the same time creating an environment where they can continue to flourish.

RTW really has nothing to do with creating jobs, it has to do with weakening unions and the middle class the unions represent. It will help those industries scouting around for cheap labor. What will it do to the Michigan middle class? Look at the charts of the RTW states - they are all low men on the totem pole in most every category that denotes good quality of life. Wealth inequality is the root of all these excessive and extreme state regulations and legislation.

I honestly have no strong feelings about unions, pro or con, but I see this move in Lansing as part of a bigger picture where common good, public policy, or strengthening of the middle class are not the main motivators.

Mary Washington

Rick Snyder is a tyrant doing what he can before he and the rest of his cronies are ousted. The right to work laws are not helping in several of the other states which have adopted this law. The economy is already moving in the right direction as far as jobs are concerned. So, now you'll have non union workers, working in the same jobs, making the same wages and earning the same benefits that union workers have struggled to maintain. Obama isn't sticking his nose where it doesn't belong, he cares about the country as a whole, and MI happens to a key ingredient for the success of OUR COUNTRY. The actions in Lansing by Rick Snyder and the majority party yesterday, and quite frankly from day one that he stepped into office has been nothing short of a dictatorship. People want Obama to stay out of it, Rick Snyder is actually taking your right to vote on these issues away from you. Please people, get your head out of the sand.


Thanks Mary for trying to set the record straight. I am full blooded union for 26 years now, not because I'm a lazy worker but because I believe in what the stand for. I believe unions today are not as strong as they once where for the most part. Don't think that the get every job lost back, and yes I make a six figure income also if you throw in the 2 cents. Just like what happened to BTL2A, just not right. Now wouldn't it be just great when you get to retirement age to be let go so younger non union laber can come in.

Say no to new taxes

85% of the people in this country don't belong to a union, yet they still manage to earn a living, buy a home and put their kids through college. Unions seem to spend most of their time defending poor performing workers. Right to work laws don't ban unions, they just say it's up to the worker to decide if they want to join. What's wrong with that?


Well said @Say no to new taxes, but don't expect anyone opposing your views to respond rationally. Snyder's not a tyrant, he's the patriot in the right place at the right time for Michigan. Proposal 2 was thrown to the mat in November BY THE PEOPLE!!!! A clear voice as to how the rest of us(the majority) feel about collective extortion and right to work legistlation. Now, we have the people of Wisconsin, Ohio, Indian, and Michigan in complete agreement with this issue. Glad to see the adults in the room taking charge in Lansing...throttle down and don't look back. Lets roll!



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