Federal employee union denounces Michigan ‘right to work’ vote by lame-duck legislature

The nation’s largest federal employee union on Tuesday issued a statement condemning the Michigan legislature’s vote to approve a pair of “right to work” bills covering public- and private-sector workers. 

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) signed the measures on Tuesday, making his state the second to enact such laws this year. Indiana passed similar legislation in February.

American Federation of Government Employees president J. David Cox, Sr. called the bills “a vile example of political revenge” during a lame-duck session of the Michigan legislature, which is controlled by Republicans. 

“This profoundly anti-democratic action is an affront to anybody who believes in democratic processes or even basic decency,” Cox said in a statement on Tuesday. “The people of Michigan do not want this law, and Governor Snyder and and the lawmakers who are trying to enact this anti-worker bill before their terms expire at the end of the year know full well that what they are doing is immoral and unjust.”

Republicans maintained control of Michigan’s legislature during the 2012 election, winning enough seats to hold onto their majority in the state’s House of Representatives. No seats in the GOP-controlled Senate were up for grabs.  

Michigan voters rejected a proposition this year that would have amended the state’s constitution to ensure public and private-sector employees the right to organize and collectively bargain — essentially prohibiting right-to-work laws. The measure lost 58 percent to 42 percent. 

Snyder said during a Wednesday interview with Fox News that the state’s right-to-work legislation is “very much pro-worker” and that employees should have a choice in whether to contribute to union political activities.

“If you look at it these are good hardworking people,” Snyder said. “If they see value in a union they’re going to join because hard working people don’t take advantage of other people.”

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Josh Hicks covers Maryland politics and government. He previously anchored the Post’s Federal Eye blog, focusing on federal accountability and workforce issues.

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