Obama also took the unusual step of weighing in on state legislation championed by Michigan Republicans, who are moving to adopt right-to-work policies that would effectively ban unions from requiring workers to pay dues. Obama won Michigan by nearly 10 points in part because of support from the powerful United Auto Workers, and he rallied to their cause in his remarks Monday.
“What we shouldn’t be doing is trying to take away your rights to bargain for better wages and working conditions,” Obama said to enthusiastic applause. He added: “These so-called ‘right to work’ laws, they don’t have to do with economics; they have everything to do with politics. What they’re really talking about is giving you the right to work for less money.”
The Republican proposal could become law as early as Tuesday, when Michigan’s GOP-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.
During his visit here, Obama toured the Daimler plant, which announced a $120 million expansion Monday. In another echo of the campaign just concluded, Obama made a point of noting the 2009 federal rescue of the auto industry.
“The word’s gone out, all around the world: If you want to find the best workers in the world
. . .
you should invest in the United States of America,” Obama said.
Not long before Obama spoke in Michigan, his deputy campaign manager, Stephanie Cutter, sent an e-mail to millions of supporters urging them to target House Republicans who oppose the president’s plan to raise tax rates on the wealthy. The entreaty included a detail “call script” to use on other Democrats encouraging them to call their members of Congress.
“We know we can affect change in Washington when we raise our voices together,” Cutter wrote in the e-mail. “So pick up the phone and make a few calls. Republicans in the House need to hear from their constituents.”
Obama’s plan would raise rates on net income over $250,000 while keeping rates the same on income below that level. Rates on all income levels are slated to rise automatically in January if a deal is not reached.
Paul Kane in Washington contributed to this report.