IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Michigan hurtles toward anti-union law

Indiana Department of Workforce Development

Back in February, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder looked out across the Midwest and said he didn't want to be like those governors pushing anti-union legislation in places like Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin. From FOX News:

"I think it's unfortunate that they've gotten to that, I don't want to see that happen," Snyder said of the high profile fights and protests in neighboring states like Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin. "If you want to draw it as a contrast, you look at now that they've had those things happen, do they have a productive environment to solve problems? Not necessarily. They're still overcoming the divisiveness, the hard feelings from all of that."

That was so then. Governor Snyder announced today that he will sign an anti-union "Right to Work" law, and the legislature has gone into overtime to get one on his desk. Right to Work laws ban union shops, and they tend to lead to lower wages. MLive reports that the bill would not affect police and firefighters, and that it would be written in a way that it could not be put up for repeal by voters.

As you can see in the video above from Eclectablogthings are getting heated at the Michigan state Capitol. A Democratic lawmaker has written to say that the Capitol has been locked down to keep protesters out. After the jump, a chart and some numbers.

Governor Snyder explains in a YouTube clip why he has had the change of heart. Earlier in the week, he connected it to unions asking to have collective bargaining rights enshrined in the state constitution, over Snyder's wishes.

Now he says that he has looked over at Indiana, which passed a Right to Work law in January, and where jobs have been growing rapidly. It might too soon to know whether weakening the unions made jobs grow in Indiana. The state had already begun to recover from the Great Recession when the legislature banned union shops. For what it's worth, Michigan's workforce has been bouncing back about as quickly as Indiana's.

Indiana Department of Workforce Development

More charts on Right to Work in a post yesterday; economist Gordon Lafer's deep dive into Indiana, Right to Work and the regional economy here.