Obama opposes proposed "right to work" measures in Michigan

REDFORD, Michigan Mon Dec 10, 2012 3:36pm EST

1 of 6. U.S. President Barack Obama delivers remarks after his tour of the Daimler Detroit Diesel plant in Redford, Michigan, December 10, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Jason Reed

Related Topics

REDFORD, Michigan (Reuters) - President Barack Obama on Monday threw his support behind labor unions opposed to a Republican-led drive for "right-to-work" laws in Michigan, saying efforts to pass such measures were not about economics but about politics.

Obama used a visit to an auto plant in the cradle of the American labor movement to weigh in on the controversial push in the state legislature to impose new restrictions on unions, part of the Democratic president's political base that helped him win re-election last month.

"What we shouldn't be doing is trying to take away your rights to bargain for better wages and working conditions," he said to loud cheers from workers at the Daimler Detroit Diesel plant in Redford, Michigan. "We shouldn't be doing that."

"These so-called right-to-work laws, they don't have to do with economics, they have everything to do with politics," Obama said. "What they're really talking about is giving you the right to work for less money."

Union members and others opposed to Michigan becoming a right-to-work state plan major protests in the state capital Lansing this week. Organizers expect thousands at a rally on Tuesday when the state legislature reconvenes.

With Republicans in control of the legislature and the Republican governor committed to sign the laws, Michigan could become the 24th right-to-work state by the middle of the week, dealing a stunning blow to the power of organized labor in the United States.

Michigan Republicans surprised labor unions on Thursday by pushing through the legislature in a day a proposal making union membership and dues voluntary in the private sector. The state Senate also voted to apply that to the public sector, except for police and fire unions.

Unions may not be able to stop Michigan Republicans from making the laws final on Tuesday, political analysts said. Governor Rick Snyder, who once opposed right-to-work as a divisive issue, has said he will sign them into law.

(Reporting by Steve Holland; Writing by Matt Spetalnick; Editing by Mohammad Zargham)

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (44)
oh no!, say it aint so! you joking right?! LMAO!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Dec 10, 2012 3:35pm EST  --  Report as abuse
kkong164 wrote:
Obama demonstrates, once again, he has no clue about economics and his desire to pander to his fawning fans.

Dec 10, 2012 3:36pm EST  --  Report as abuse
bobber1956 wrote:
obama’s stance on this purely political and represents a MINORITY, of course, of the workers in this country. Simple, he is telling people they do NOT have a right to work. Bring on the cliff and let the charity generation starve.

Dec 10, 2012 3:36pm EST  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.