Press Release

AFT Statement on Michigan’s New ‘Right to Work’ (for Less) Law

For Release: 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


Carolyn Fiddler

—American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten released the following statement on Michigan’s new “right to work” (for less) law.

“With more than 9 percent of Michiganders out of work and many more struggling to make ends meet, this ‘right to work’ (for less) law is the last thing Michigan families need. By ramming this legislation through during the lame-duck session, Gov. Rick Snyder and his Republican accomplices in the Statehouse have demonstrated their contempt not only for Michigan’s middle-class families, but also for democracy itself. Gov. Snyder’s own flip-flop on this issue reveals the lengths to which he is willing to go to deliver for the Koch brothers, ALEC, CEOs and other extremists waging a war on working people—all while ignoring the will of Michigan citizens and the needs of Michigan families.

“With political power comes responsibility, and it is incredibly irresponsible to pass a law that will drive down wages at a time when income inequality is at its most extreme since the Great Depression. The new law will only increase economic pain and uncertainty in the state by depressing wages and suppressing the ability of workers to collectively bargain for a comfortable and secure future. As Michigan works to improve its economy, its leaders should be coming together to work collaboratively to create jobs and provide economic relief to families and communities, just as the United Auto Workers came together with Michigan car company executives to save the auto industry.

“AFT members joined thousands of workers and union members at the state Capitol to stand against this disgraceful law, and the entire union supports them. The debate over this legislation clearly revealed who is on the side of Michigan’s working families. In the Statehouse, six Republican House members and four Republican senators joined with every single Democratic legislator to oppose this law. I applaud these lawmakers for standing up for hardworking Michiganders and for standing up to a Republican governor and the legislative leaders spearheading this attack on the middle class.”

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The AFT represents 1.7 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.