Legislation would end failed “right-to-work” experiment, restore workers’ rights

LANSING, Mich. — Today, Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich (D–Flint), Sen. Hoon-Yung Hopgood (D–Taylor), and Sen. Steve Bieda (D–Warren) introduced bills to repeal the failed right-to-work law and boost paychecks for working families.

Senate Bills 724 and 725 would repeal Michigan’s failed right-to-work law that has diminished workers’ freedom to negotiate together in union for better jobs with stronger paychecks, good benefits, a secure retirement and more time to be with family.

“Michigan workers deserve the freedom and liberty to make decisions that suit their career ambitions without government mandating how they can and cannot associate,” Sen. Ananich said. “They deserve the right to work for more, and that’s what this legislation will do.”

Efforts to repeal the failed law come on the fifth anniversary of the laws’ passage, and when working families are feeling a financial pinch as the cost of living continues to increase while paychecks have remained stagnant after five years of manufacturing decline.

“Instead of listening to the hardworking citizens of our great state, Republicans took away freedoms from working people by eliminating their ability to band together and fight for higher paychecks,” Sen. Hopgood said. “It’s past time that we restore those freedoms, and their rights.”

In a study that focused on the effects of right-to-work laws in the Midwest from 2010 through 2016, the Illinois Economic Policy Institute found that workers in right-to-work states — such as Michigan, Indiana and Wisconsin — earned significantly less than people in neighboring Midwestern states that have not enacted right-to-work legislation.

According to the Economic Policy Institute, people in states without right-to-work laws make $1,558 more than their counterparts in states that are still operating under the failed right-to-work legislation. The average hourly wage is also higher, at $23.93, as compared to just $20.66 in states with right-to-work laws.

“For decades, wealthy CEOs have been experimenting with Michigan workers,” Sen. Bieda said. “Every time they pass a new law, working men and women lose their freedom to fight for the American Dream. It’s this recklessness that we will change under our legislation — and stop the continued erosion of wages and salaries.”

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