ALEC’s Decades Of ‘Right-To-Work’ Effort Pay Off In Michigan

Back To Work

At its November conference in D.C., ALEC members on the Commerce, Insurance, and Economic Development Task Force voted to re-endorse 55 pieces of model legislation it has passed over the years, including the “right-to-work” bill, according to documents released by the liberal watchdog group Common Cause.

Since 2010, members of the task force have included some of the nationʼs largest non-union and anti-union companies, including McDonalds, Wal-Mart, Bank of America and MillerCoors. All four of the companies quit the organization this year after ALEC faced scrutiny for its sponsorship of voter ID legislation.

Though long on ALECʼs agenda, “right-to-work” has been a tough sell in the states for decades.

Since ALEC created the model right-to-work legislation, only four states have passed it into law. In 1992, ALEC members introduced the bill in 11 state legislatures, including Michigan.

None of them passed.

In 1995, ALEC reported that its legislator-members introduced the bill in nine states, but again none passed new laws, according to ALEC annual reports.

Idaho passed the law in 1985, but no state would pass it again until 2001, when 54% of Oklahomans approved a right-to-work constitutional amendment.

The text of the Oklahoma law matched, word-for-word, that of ALECʼs model bill.

In 2012, a slew of ALEC members sponsored the bill in Indiana, which Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels signed into law in February 2012.

Key parts of the Michigan law are identical to the text in the ALEC model bill.

Snyder’s Right-To-Work Flip Flop

Michiganʼs governor reversed his stance on what he had repeatedly called a “divisive” law that was not on his agenda. But last week, hours before the bill introduced, Snyder announced he would sign a bill if it arrived on his desk.

In a press conference, Snyder said the measure would help the state compete with “right-to-work” Indiana by enticing businesses to set up shop in a state plagued by the sustained flight of manufacturing jobs. He also passed the microphone to three “real Michigan workers” who gave support for the law.

Hours later, the Michigan House and Senate, in a lame duck session, made a preliminary vote to approve the legislation without committee hearings.

At the time, Michigan state police locked protesters out of the state Capitol building in violation of a court order, while legislators prepared to vote.

Some of Michiganʼs Democratic state representatives briefly walked off the floor of the House chamber in protest.

When the Legislature reconvened a few days later to take final votes on the bills, which will apply to both public and private sector workers, thousands of pro-union protesters met them at the Capitol.

After House members approved the bills, some began a sit-in at Gov. Snyderʼs Lansing office, urging a veto.

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