Tim Skubick: Snyder has fence-mending to do with organized labor

Tim Skubick: Snyder has fence-mending to do with organized labor

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LANSING, Mich. (WJBK) -

By his own admission, Gov.Rick Snyder has some fence mending to do with organized labor. First time he ran, he actually picked up some labor support, but that is but a fond memory in the fallout of Right to Work and other legislation that unions considered really anti-labor.

The gap between the two sides was painfully evident earlier this year when the governor was in the opening phase of hawking his now ill-fated $1.2 billion road repair package. He thought he could lineup some labor support in the effort since thousands of labor jobs would have been created.

In a story that's never been reported, he summoned to his office labor leaders for a private closed door session to see how he could solicit their support i.e. helping him to line up Democratic votes for the package.

This came after the RTW debacle and feelings were still raw when the meeting began and it didn't take long for labor to make its case.  The governor would have to pay a price to get what he wanted.

The price was to tell lawmakers that he would veto any GOP effort to repeal the prevailing wage law.  At the time, still fresh off the RTW victory, some conservative Republicans were fixing to deliver another blow to labor by eliminating the law that guaranteed a union wage for union work on public works projects.

The governor told the group that he was not interested in the repeal, but that did not satisfy the union leaders one iota. They had been down this path before as the governor had said Right to Work was not on his to-do list, either.

This time they refused to  take him at his word. They wanted it in writing and in public so that if he changed his mind on that as well, the unions had him on the record and the voters would know he was not a man of his word.

The governor balked at the notion, perhaps thinking that his word was good enough.

What's the old saying, "fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice, shame on me."

One union leader thought the governor was surprised that labor wanted something in return for its support for the road package.

But by the end of the meeting, the governor would not budge, neither would labor, and a chance to heal some of the hard feelings went up in flames.  Where it remains to this day.

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