LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Thomas Albert said Tuesday that Michigan Democrats are undoing years of progress by repealing Right to Work and prevailing wage laws that have benefited workers and the economy over the past decade.
“Right to Work and prevailing wage changes were among the historic reforms Michigan needed to fully emerge from the Lost Decade of the early 2000s,” said Albert, R-Lowell. “These changes were a huge step forward for worker freedom and our state’s economy. The changes Democrats are rushing through the Legislature now, however, are a huge step backward.”
The Right to Work changes pushed by Democrats would mandate that workers in union shops must belong to the union and financially support it — even if they disagree with some of the union’s activities. For the last decade, Michigan workers in that situation have had the freedom to decide for themselves whether they wanted to join the union.
“Beyond the economy — remaining as a Right to Work state is simply the right thing to do,” Albert said. “It is frustrating to hear this labeled as ‘anti-union’ — because at heart, it is pro-worker. Anyone who wants to join a union can do so right now, and unions have a chance to prove their worth right now. Fundamentally, it’s an issue of freedom and individual liberty. No one should be forced to associate with an organization unless they freely choose to do so — especially to put food on the table and support their families.”
Albert said that reinstating prevailing wage requirements in Michigan would be confusing and expensive — forcing schools to pay more for construction projects.
“Supporters of this change either ignore the rules of basic math — or they don’t care about wasting taxpayer money,” Albert said. “The money we waste by mandating prevailing wage clauses would be better spent supporting students, fixing roads or helping taxpayers in other ways.”
Albert offered several amendments to try and improve the bills, but Democrats rejected them all. His suggestions would have required unions to report how they spend their money and inform workers of their rights, along with other important protections.