Senate Democrats Condemn House Republicans' Passage of “Right to Work” Despite Protests

Thousands of protesters ignored as Right to Work railroaded through Michigan House

Lansing – Michigan Senate Democrats continued to voice their support of Michigan workers protesting at the Capitol today and decried the Michigan House of Representatives' passage of so-called Right to Work legislation. The Senate passed Senate Bill 116 and House Bill 4003 late last Thursday, and the bills were finalized and approved by the House today. These bills now go to Governor Snyder for his signature into law, a move that he has already publicly stated is a foregone conclusion.

Senate Democratic Leader Gretchen Whitmer: “I have been proud to stand with Michigan workers every step of the way, and I was proud to sit down with them in the Capitol today to protest this unjust and malicious anti-worker legislation. In passing the Right to Work bills today, the House Republicans proved that they are just as deaf to Michigan workers when they are right outside their door as they have been to them back in their districts the last two years. Passing these bills is an act of war on Michigan's middle class, and I hope the Governor and the Republican legislators are ready for the fight that is about to ensue.”

Senate Minority Floor Leader Tupac A. Hunter: “Michigan Republicans continued to show how out of touch they are today, as the House Majority ignored the thousands of workers protesting all around them and passed Right to Work legislation that will hurt our working families and our economy. These bills are just the latest in Governor Snyder and the Republican Majority's efforts to undermine the earning power of Michigan's middle class. We will continue to stand up for Michigan workers and make sure the concerns outside the Capitol are raised on the inside as well.”

Senator Glenn S. Anderson: “As a former auto worker and union member, I am disgusted by this all-out assault on the working men and women of Michigan. Unionized Michigan workers have fought for a century to improve working conditions and build Michigan's middle class. Republican policy makers and outside wealthy special interests behind the push for so-called ‘Right to Work' legislation are focused only on destroying organized labor and are wholly misguided if they think it will help improve Michigan's economy. Make no mistake about it, as President Obama said yesterday, passage of this legislation is about politics, not economics.”

Senator Steve Bieda: “I'm strongly opposed to these bills. The way this legislation was passed is an embarrassment. When collective bargaining laws were strengthened in Michigan in 1965 it was done not only with bipartisan support, but nearly unanimously and signed by Governor George Romney. The repeal of those rights was done by single-party rule that attempted to silence any opposition. Say what you will about this legislation, but we should all be ashamed of the process by which it passed.”

Senator John J. Gleason: “As a man of the Catholic faith, I firmly believe that the dignity of work is tied to the preservation of the rights of workers. Fair wages and safe work places are central to the equal treatment of all human beings. Men and women have died to protect these rights that Governor Snyder is going to get rid of with the stroke of a pen and not a single committee hearing.”

Senator Vincent Gregory: “Our unions are an integral part of our economy and our state's auto manufacturing industry, but they also represent our public service workers, our nurses, our police officers, our fire fighters, our corrections officers and our teachers. Michigan workers have been relentlessly marginalized by the Snyder administration and legislative Republicans over the last two years, but with the House Majority's passage of the so-called right-to-work legislation today, Michigan Republicans have turned their backs on Michigan workers for good.”

Senator Hoon-Yung Hopgood: “Michigan voters cherish their ability to collectively bargain for their right to fair wages and benefits. It's a sad day when our voters' voices are silenced by their elected officials for the sake of their own political agenda.”

Senator Bert Johnson: “The Republicans controlling state government have shown that they care nothing for transparency, or the voice of the middle class. There was no discussion, no deliberation, no thought to the effects of these bills. This was an act of pure greed on behalf of Governor Snyder and Republican lawmakers. They are only deepening the divide between the haves and the have-nots.”

Senator Virgil K. Smith: “The pernicious attack on the middle class by this legislature is turning back the hands of time to the sharecropping days. When rich men who owned everything extorted cheap labor from men and women who had nothing. This degradation of rights is bad for every worker in Michigan, whether they belong to a union or not.”

Senator Rebekah Warren: “Today is a sad day for Michigan families. Over the course of just a few days, we have witnessed yet another devastating attack on the middle class without any committee debate or public discussion. In the face of this injustice, thousands of concerned citizens traveled to the Capitol today to make their voices heard. Unfortunately, my colleagues on the other side of the aisle chose to ignore their protests and instead steer Michigan in the wrong direction with this legislation.”

Senator Coleman A. Young II: “This is a disgraceful, disgusting and downright dangerous attack on workers' rights. The behavior of this legislature in passing these bills is an affront to democracy and a subversion of the Constitution that governs our state and nation. This is nothing less than a violation of the sacred trust given to us by the citizens of Michigan.”