Right-to-work bills passed in deeply divided Michigan House

Right-to-work bills passed in deeply divided Michigan House

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Rep. Jon Switalski makes an impassioned speech against right-to-work legislation. Rep. Jon Switalski makes an impassioned speech against right-to-work legislation.

By Tim Skubick
Fox 2 News


LANSING, Mich. (WJBK) -- The Republican majority in the state House approved legislation Tuesday that would make Michigan a right-to-work state.

"This is the nuclear option... and there will be blood," said Rep. Doug Geiss, a Democrat.

"Today is a game changer.  Today is ground breaking.  The future of Michigan has never been brighter," said House Speaker Jase Bolger.

The Michigan House was deeply divided on this issue that either turns the clock back or moves it forward.  Democrats saw it this way.

"We're left with a divided state.  We're left with people out there yelling, angry, filled with hatred, suspicion towards this body," said Rep. Jon Switalski, a Democrat.

"Every person in Michigan deserves a right to work at a job where there is no pressure to join a group or a cause unless they so choose it," said Rep. Greg MacMaster, a Republican.

Everything was orderly until the final vote was taken.  Right-to-work was passed, but then Democrats tried for a re-do of the vote.  The Republicans blocked it.  Before it was over, the State Police entered the House floor in an unprecedented move.  Their services were not needed, but it served to underscore the tension within the body.

Eventually the second right-to-work bill was also approved.

So now what?  The governor is hoping this fight is over.

"Not anywhere close.  The debate is just beginning on this matter, and the debate's going to ratchet up over the next two years," said Rep. Tim Greimel, a Democrat.  "If the governor thinks that today's passage of this is going to end the debate on this, he is dead wrong."

"That is their choice.  We're going to continue to focus on the workers of Michigan.  We're going to continue to focus on new jobs and better careers.  That's what today was about.  That's what the future will be about," said Rep. Mike Shirkey, a Republican.

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