Right-to-work laws mean that you do not have to pay dues to a union, even if the union represents all the workers. In states that do not have right-to work-laws, all workers must pay dues in a “unionized” workplace.
The labor movement says these laws are “anti-union” and vows to overturn them through state elections.
Recently, Michigan became the 24th state to pass a right-to-work law. The United Auto Workers and other unions were founded in Michigan. It has long been a pro-labor state. Republicans now control the Michigan legislature and the governor’s office
Republicans in Wisconsin recently took rights away from public employee unions. Both states say high labor costs make their states too expensive to manage and too expensive to attract new business.
The new Michigan law attracted thousands of protesters. They came to the capitol in Lansing to demonstrate. The governor signed the law immediately after it passed.
Observers say the new law will make it harder for unions to get money from workers. This makes it harder for them to act as a union, support themselves and advocate for workers.
One conservative analyst said the law is “going to make this place [Michigan] a better choice for businesses to grow and expand.”
A union leader said, “The sleeping tiger is awake now. We have 2014 as a goal to shift out and win justice.”
The Michigan law covers public and private workers, except police and firefighters. It takes effect next spring.