December 11th, 2012
11:42 AM ET
10 years ago

What's the 'right-to-work' battle all about?

(CNN) - The battle over right-to-work legislation in Michigan has renewed debate over labor policy and the role of unions in the American economy. Here's a quick look at the issue:

What's going on?

Michigan's storied labor movement and its allies are mobilizing to stop Republican-backed legislation that would give workers the right to opt out of union membership and, critics say, weaken unions. The state House and Senate passed separate "right-to-work" bills last week in a surprise move that provoked thousands of labor supporters to descend on the state Capitol for protests that led to eight arrests. More protests are scheduled for Tuesday.


Filed under: Michigan
soundoff (36 Responses)
  1. Rudy NYC

    Howard wrote:

    If it is an unskilled position, probably not. But, a union worker in a skilled position comes with certifications. In most trades in order to gain membership, you have to undergo specific training and pass tests.

    For example, almost every union electrician that I've ever met has had CPR training, which obviously useful when it comes to electrical shocks scenarios.

    December 11, 2012 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  2. Ann Clinton

    The real issues – behind the smoke & mirrors are CORRUPTION on both ends. The Unions have taken advantage, however, without them the people will be taken advantage of no doubt. As I've blogged before, I live in a Right to Work State – Arizona – and look at the problems we have with Illegal Aliens filling the jobs that a Tax Paying American cannot afford to work in 'cause we have to pay taxes and our cost of living is so much bigger than Mexico. So, my opinion is stop the BS Right to Work & then get busy cleaning up the Union.

    December 11, 2012 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  3. ghostriter

    Ann Clinton, you are correct.

    December 11, 2012 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  4. rwb1956

    I just have one question. Did the union workers ask the state government to do this? If not, this just plain old union busting.

    December 11, 2012 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  5. ghostriter

    As I just finished explaining to someone, this is about the fact that while unions have een able to negotiate regular COL raises the past 20 years, non-union folks haven't. Now, it looks like union folks are overpaid. It's funny how conservatives will protect the 2% by saying that $250,000 isn't a lot of money, but someone making $50,000 in a union job is overpiad. They have to pay CEO's top dollar to keep the best talent, but think teachers are paid too much and do too little.

    December 11, 2012 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  6. Woman In California

    @ Ann Clinton

    Very well stated.

    I have never worked under a union, but there are companies out there who definitely need a union, such as (WalMart). Why should it cost the taxpayers of the State of California $86 million dollars a year-just to take care of WalMart employees, while the Walton's continue to make the Forbes list and live laviously? I for one, would never shop there and I would love to see a union come in.

    December 11, 2012 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  7. Sniffit

    Let's just reduce this to brass tacks:

    The GOP/Teatrolls are telling the country in no uncertain terms taht if we want our jobs back from China, we have to accept pay and benefits equivalent to Chinese labor.

    If you do not recognize or understand that fact, you are not paying attention.

    December 11, 2012 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  8. Ed1

    Unions continue to lose power where they were once needed they are not anymore. The greed continues with unions and jobs will be lost when companies close their doors why can't people see that.

    I don't think our tax dollars should be used for union wages why can't their work speak for the job they do.

    Obama should stay out of state business in fact private business too.

    December 11, 2012 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  9. Wire Palladin, S. F

    The GOP needs to level the playing field because spending over $2 billion to elect Mittens did not work. Somalia, China, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan do not have unions either.

    December 11, 2012 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  10. Wire Palladin, S. F

    I think right wingnuts want to do away with unions. When you look at coal miners, you have to ask, who needs those pesky work related safeties the unions fought for?

    December 11, 2012 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  11. Wire Palladin, S. F

    The new middle class that the republicans are creating, will be workers making 99 cents an hour, so the Kochs can net over $35 billion each year.

    December 11, 2012 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
1 2