Republican Gov. Rick Snyder on Wednesday blamed unions for opening the door to right-to-work laws in Michigan.
“This last summer, labor leaders decided to start a ballot initiative to put something on Michigan’s ballot in regard to collective bargaining–and again I believe in collective bargaining but they went to a huge overreach, to do something to Michigan’s constitution,” Snyder said on MSNBC’s Morning Joe. “I asked them not to go ahead because I said if you do this you’re going to start a divisive conversation on labor rights that include collective bargaining but also right-to-work. They went ahead.”
Speaking from Lansing, where Snyder signed the right-to-work bill into law on Tuesday, Snyder maintained that the bill would not hurt unions: “I’ve never said unions are bad for business and I don’t think this is anti-union, I think it’s pro-worker.”
The bill allows workers to opt out of paying union dues, something labor activists say will weaken collective bargaining and the president says will give workers “the right to work for less.”
“Are you serious–this is not anti-union? This at its core undermines the ability of unions to collectively bargain,” MSNBC’s Richard Wolffe said to Snyder.
“This has nothing to do with the relationship between an employer and a union, this is about a relationship between a worker and a union and unions need to be in the position to present a good value proposition,” Snyder countered.
“I wouldn’t go as far as you, but [the bill] undermines unions ability to stay vibrant,” MSNBC host Joe Scarborough said.
The bill allows unions to continue collectively bargaining and employees to keep reaping the benefits of union-negotiated pay hikes, without paying dues to the unions.
President Barack Obama spoke in Michigan on Monday, slamming the bill.
“These so called right-to-work laws, they don’t have to do with economics,” he said at a visit to the Daimler Detroit Diesel plant in Redford, Mich. “They have everything to do with politics. What they’re really talking about is giving you the right to work for less money.”