Michigan’s lesson for Wisconsin unionists

Make no mistake about it:  We in Wisconsin have plenty to learn from Michigan’s action this week in passing the Right-to-Work (for less) law.

Talk about stealth legislation, this is it.  Not only did the heavily Republican legislature ram the antiunion law through both the Senate and House without a public hearing and with no floor debate, but they even tried to do it hidden from the general public.  It took a court order to require them to open the chambers up, but the public’s presence did little to slow down the ramrod job the legislature did on the Wolverine State’s working people.

Note to Wisconsinites:  Remember how the Legislature’s Finance Committee in March 2011 passed Act 10 without proper notice, as the Republicans voted continuing to ignore Democratic Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca’s demand to speak.  And in a vote that lasted no more than 18 seconds, the law taking away most collective bargaining rights for Wisconsin’s public employees was passed.

In Michigan, this “Right-to-Work legislation had laid hidden in the woods during the entire legislative session, until December.  Earlier, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder had said it wasn’t on his agenda, which reassured many Michigan labor leaders into thinking that the GOP-controlled legislature would not touch such a change in traditionally heavy prolabor state. Similarly, Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville previously opposed “right to work.”

Then, come the special session of a lame-duck legislature and both men suddenly are supporting it.

In Wisconsin, Governor Scott Walker, who with the Republican-controlled legislature slammed through Act 10, has also been quoted as saying “right-to-work” was not on his agenda, nor did Republican leadership hint it was in the offing.  Maybe, just maybe, many laborites began thinking, they just don’t want the hassle of demonstrations similar to 2011, and there’d be no such law offered by Republicans.

Let the Michigan experience be a warning: You can’t trust these guys.

Already we know several legislators are circulating a “right-to-work” law in Wisconsin.  What happened in Michigan could happen in Wisconsin! — Ken Germanson, Dec. 7, 2012.


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