Rick Snyder Wants Michigan to be Indiana

In a press conference, Rick Snyder just urged the MI legislature to pass a right to work bill (after having said it was not appropriate for MI in the past).

There were a number of funny aspects about the press conference, particularly the way Snyder and House Speaker Jase Bolger and Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville dodged repeated questions about whether Dick DeVos’ funding had some influence on this decision (they answered by pointing to all the conversations they had with UAW President Bob King, avoiding the funding question entirely). Given all that dodging, I think it safe to assume that Dick DeVos just bought the right to force down wages $1,500 for every worker in this state (as right to work legislation has been shown to do in other states).

But the funniest part of the press conference, IMO, was the way Snyder said he’s doing this because IN passed right to work last February. Over and over, he said we’re doing this because … Indiana! The governor of the beautiful, more diverse, and better educated MI now aspires for his state to be the less beautiful, more racist, and less well educated IN.

All that said, there’s nothing funny about this move generally. Republicans are adding an appropriation to the bill to make it impossible to overturn via referendum (all while preaching choice and freedom!). They mean to take that money out of MI workers’ pockets and they’re going to do it undemocratically to ensure the do so.

Marcy has been blogging full time since 2007. She’s known for her live-blogging of the Scooter Libby trial, her discovery of the number of times Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded, and generally for her weedy analysis of document dumps.

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including the Guardian, Salon, and the Progressive, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse and dog in Grand Rapids, MI.

14 replies
  1. Linnaeus says:

    What did Snyder say about the carveout for police and fire workers? I mean, we know the real answer, but how did Snyder justify that?

  2. klynn says:

    This is sad EW.

    OT: Now that DeMint is resigning, I am keeping my eyes on Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition three speakers — DeMint, Portman and Rubio.

    Me thinks they are gearing up.

  3. Linnaeus says:

    Another question, too: I keep reading about “closed shops” in Michigan and people being forced to pay dues. It’s my understanding that the closed shop has been illegal nationwide since Taft-Hartley. Is this just shitty reporting?

  4. prostratedragon says:

    @Linnaeus:

    There are “closed shops” and “union shops,” a distinction that I’d certainly lost track of. Taft-Hartley outlawed the closed shops while allowing the union shops, and state right-to-work laws can make the union shop illegal also.

    From wikipedia:

    The Taft-Hartley Act outlawed the closed shop in the United States in 1947, but permits the union shop, except in those states that have passed right-to-work laws, in which case even the union shop is illegal. An employer may not lawfully agree with a union to hire only union members [that would be a closed shop —pd]; it may, on the other hand, agree to require employees to join the union or pay the equivalent of union dues to it after a set period of time [that’s a union shop —pd].

  5. orionATL says:

    the republican partly hasn’t lost, nor been chastened by the recent national election.

    the party is operating with spectacular and increasing success at the state level throughout the nation.

    at the state level there is poorer quality media reporting of the link between private money and state laws and regulations. private gains at the expense of public benefit or need is facilitated by the fact that state legislatures may meet for only a couple of months a year in quickie sessions where lots of pre-planned (alec) damage can be done quickly and non-transparently.

    recently a republican big-wig in georgia’s terribly red-stained state legislature was asked about the influence of the tea party on republican legislation. “oh, they come up here and meet with us,” he said, “but they don’t have much influence on the outcomes. here it’s strictly pay to play.”

  6. bsbafflesbrains says:

    How can they prevent referendum? All vote are essentially a referendum so hopefully his ass is grass next election. (and not the recently legal good grass but the kind that has snakes in it)

  7. Linnaeus says:

    @prostratedragon:

    See, that’s what I thought. You can’t be compelled to join a union anywhere in the United States. You may be required to either join and pay full dues or pay a service/agency fee if you don’t join, if your state law allows that (my state, Washington, does).

    This distinction is so seldom made in reporting about right-to-work that I began to wonder if I was missing something. I wasn’t – the reporting is just inaccurate.

  8. emptywheel says:

    @Linnaeus: He said they were dangerous.

    It was sort of funny, bc Richardville CALLED them a carve out, but then Snyder, in response to a question, said it wasn’t a carve out.

  9. emptywheel says:

    @Linnaeus: Yes. This is just about whether or not someone benefitting fr union contract pays dues to support the representation that went into it.

  10. Carlos says:

    I would suggest everyone in Michigan, Republican and Democrat, to look at Florida, a right to work state, where workers can be fired for any or no reason whatsoever, and we have one of the lowest minimum wages in the nation. If I had been an adult at the time this law was passed in Florida, I would have done everything possible to fight it. Right to work is double-speak for forcing employees to work for low wages and having zero job security.

  11. Carlos says:

    I would suggest everyone in Michigan, Republican and Democrat, to look at Florida, a right to work state, where workers can be fired for any or no reason whatsoever, and we have one of the lowest minimum wages in the nation. If I had been an adult at the time this law was passed in Florida, I would have done everything possible to fight it. Right to work is double-speak for forcing employees to work for low wages and having zero job security.@emptywheel:

  12. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Right to “work”, of course, is Republican and business jargon for right to “fire” without liability or penalty. It is the state legislature voting to cooperate with business to suppress workers’ wages, pensions, health care and other benefits, which suppresses labor’s ability to pressure for better safety and working conditions, better pay and benefits, any say in the business. It helps assure the top dozen or two managers that the gains from all of the firm’s labor accrue to them alone. Such laws are a national disgrace, a leap in the race to the bottom.

    Apart from their other pernicious effects, right to fire laws, properly renamed, put the burden on labor to help states compete with each other for jobs. The other mule in that train is the general taxpayer, who subsidizes tax (sales, income, real estate, franchise, you name it) rebates and giveaways that help make retailers like Cabela’s and Wal-Mart especially profitable.

    The usual promise given in exchange for such laws and tax giveaways, “creating jobs”, is ephemeral. The number of jobs rarely appear or last for long, and the wages paid are often low or minimum wage.

    All in, right to fire laws amount to government getting in bed with the biggest companies to help assure their profitability on the backs of average workers and taxpayers. All while millionaires scream when asked to pay reasonable (or any) taxes on their income, housing, or inheritances.

  13. Vera Rose says:

    Looks like Dick DeVos said jump and Snyder rejoined, “How high?”
    Very sad turn of events. Clear up the mess in 2014.

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