The Michigan state legislature will consider right-to-work legislation after the bill passed 58-52 in the House, and 22-16 in the Senate after a call to action from Gov. Rick Snyder on Thursday.
The bills now move to the chamber opposite from where they originated, at which point Snyder said he would sign the chosen version into law, making Michigan the 24th right-to-work state.
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Rep. Bill Rogers (R-Brighton) said he voted for right to work legislation because it gives workers the freedom to choose whether or not they want to belong in a union instead of being forced.
"The bottom line is that it doesn't change anything other than it gives the employee the opportunity to decide if they want to join the union, or in many cases it creates that famous word of competition, where they have a couple of different unions vying for thtat same shop and they can get some of the best deals, protection and everything else," he said.
The approved bill is slated to prohibit unions from collecting fees from nonunion workers, which opponents say would weaken organized labor’s ability to bargain for good wages while supporters say it would boost jobs.
Although this legislation would cover both the public and private sectors, there would be an exception for police and firefighters.
Rogers said right to work is not something that just popped up and that as a business owner, he's been an advocate of it for more than 20 years.
"This conversation never dies," Rogers said. "It just kind of ebbs and flows. Suddenly, people find that 'oh my goodness, they might vote on it,' and it creates a stir. The most important thing is actually allowing an employee to have some rights in regards to who they want as a representative. And that's what this really allows for. It doesn't change any work rules or anything else."