Michigan has been the focus of headlines since early Tuesday evening as it became the 24th state to enact right-to-work laws, when Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder signed two bills allowing workers the choice of paying for union dues.
The front-page headline of The New York Times Wednesday morning said, “Limits on unions pass in Michigan, once a mainstay,” and the headline from a Reuters’ article read, “Right-to-work law may put
Michigan back on the business map.”
An article for NBCNews.com, “Snyder signs Michigan anti-union ‘right to work’ measures over protests of thousands,” has received
more than 4,400 reader comments discussing the heated issue.
The BBC said President Barack Obama visited Michigan to garner support for his fiscal cliff plan on Monday, but also gave his position on the topic of RTW.
“What they’re really talking about is giving you the right to work for less money,” Obama said.
Opponents of the new legislation say it will lower wages for the average worker, while advocates of RTW believe it will bring more jobs into Michigan.
Eastern Michigan University junior Jaurhar Jackson, an accounting major, said the new laws were in the best interest for workers.
“I think right-to-work laws will help support the economy in this state,” he said.
Guy Franklin and Josh Tabaka, two electrical shop workers from EMU’s Physical Plant Divsion, disagreed with the enactment of the RTW laws.
Tabaka said, “It is not a good move for Michigan. If you look at other right-to-work states, poverty levels and unemployment percentages have risen. Also, benefits like healthcare are often lost when these laws take effect.”
Franklin said, “It offers lower wages to the working class, and more profits for enterprises.”
Franklin also said he left Texas, which is a RTW state, 16 years ago and was discouraged when the laws passed in Michigan. He has worked at EMU for 11 years.
Numerous EMU students said they were indifferent about the topic.
EMU sophomore Keith Strickland II said, “It may affect me, but I don’t care enough to read about why it affects me.”
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