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Democrats try again to repeal Right to Work law

The Michigan state Senate room from the gallery.
Lester Graham
Michigan Radio

Democratic lawmakers are trying once again to repeal the state’s “Right to Work” law.

Five years ago, a Republican-led Legislature made Right to Work the law of the state. It prohibits contracts that make union membership a condition of employment.

Democrats say letting people opt out of unions gives them a free ride to the benefits of the union.

Senator Hoon-Yung Hopgood, D-Taylor, is a bill sponsor. He said strong unions are important to Michigan, but Right to Work diminishes the power of unions and reduces the number of members.

“This is something that offends I think just the very nature of us as Michiganders,” he said.

Other bill sponsor, Senator Steve Bieda (D-Warren), said they want to repeal the law because, “It impacts working families, it impacts the ability to have a decent salary and wage for thousands of individuals – millions of individuals – across the state.”

Supporters of Right to Work say it brings fairness and equality to all workers. They say workers should have the right to choose if they want to be in a union or not.

The bills went to Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof’s, (R-West Olive), committee. Meekhof was a bill sponsor of the Right to Work legislation and doesn’t support the effort to repeal it.

You can learn more about SB 724 and SB 725 on the Legislature’s website.

Before becoming the newest Capitol reporter for the Michigan Public Radio Network, Cheyna Roth was an attorney. She spent her days fighting it out in court as an assistant prosecuting attorney for Ionia County. Eventually, Cheyna took her investigative and interview skills and moved on to journalism. She got her masters at Michigan State University and was a documentary filmmaker, podcaster, and freelance writer before finding her home with NPR. Very soon after joining MPRN, Cheyna started covering the 2016 presidential election, chasing after Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and all their surrogates as they duked it out for Michigan. Cheyna also focuses on the Legislature and criminal justice issues for MPRN. Cheyna is obsessively curious, a passionate storyteller, and an occasional backpacker. Follow her on Twitter at @Cheyna_R
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