Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2012 - Good news! Earlier today the Michigan House voted by a margin of 58-52 to send landmark Freedom to Work legislation (Senate Bill 116 and House Bill 4003) to Governor Snyder for his signature. This legislation will make Michigan the nation’s 24th Freedom to Work state and better position us to attract and retain good paying jobs and further improve our economic competitiveness.
While the legislative debate may have concluded, many anti-Freedom to Work activists warn the fight is far from over. State Representative Douglas Geiss (D-Taylor) warned in his floor speech and on Twitter: "[t]here will be blood. We will relive the Battle of the Overpass." (This refers to a 1937 clash between the United Auto Workers and security troops for the Ford Motor Company, in which dozens of union activists were beaten up.) The Reverend Jesse Jackson called for a one-day strike and statewide march in response to approval of the bill.
The final day of debate on this historic legislation was far from peaceful, with state police troopers, including mounted police, guarding the Capitol and other state buildings in full riot gear. Anti-Freedom to Work activists flooded the Capitol building, waged a sit-in at the Governor's office and charged and destroyed a tent erected on the Capitol lawn by supporters of the bill. State police arrested at least 11 individuals during the final two days of debate on this legislation and used mace in several unruly situations.
Acts of violence and intimidation have not deters lawmakers or the Governor during this debate because they recognize Freedom to Work legislation is good public policy that will protect all employees from being forced to join a union and pay dues against their will. And they know Freedom to Work legislation does not prohibit a union's right to exist or prevent collective bargaining - it just gives every employee the ability to decide for themselves if joining or financially supporting a union is the right choice for them.
We thank the 22 Senator Republicans and 58 House Republicans who chose to stand up for freedom in the workplace. This is a pivotal moment for Michigan's future. Visit the Michigan Chamber’s online Briefing Center for more information on this important issue.