Obama lashes out at Michigan Republicans over ‘right to work’

December 10, 2012

Obama at a truck engine plant in Redford, Mich.

REDFORD, Mich. —President Obama brought his campaign to raise taxes on the wealthy to the greasy cradle of working-class America on Monday, visiting a Detroit area auto engine plant to drum up public support for his plan to avoid the “fiscal cliff.”

Obama’s visit to Michigan comes as the state’s Republicans, backed by powerful and well-financed conservative groups, are moving to adopt so-called right-to-work legislation that would effectively ban unions here from requiring workers to pay dues.

In his remarks, Obama lashed out at state legislators who are pushing the measure, telling the assembled auto workers that it was akin to “taking away your rights to bargain for better wages and working conditions.”

Obama, who won Michigan resoundingly in last month’s election, in part because of the strong support he received from the United Automobile Workers, said the right-to-work bill was more about “giving you the right to work for less money.”

The bill could become law as early as Tuesday, when Michigan’s Republican-controlled House and Senate are expected to take up the measure for final passage. Gov. Rick Snyder (R), who for the past two years said right-to-work legislation was too divisive to be on his agenda, abruptly switched sides last week and said he would sign the union-limiting bill if it comes to his desk.

Snyder was among the dignitaries who greeted Obama when he stepped off Air Force One at Detroit Metro Airport.

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Natalie Jennings | December 10, 2012