By Douglas Holtz-Eakin
The young drop coverage to avoid higher premiums
Independent voices from the TWT Communities
As furious union members vowed to carry their fight into the next election cycle, lawmakers pushed through historic right-to-work legislation Tuesday — making this bastion of industrial labor strength the 24th state and the second in the Rust Belt to adopt right-to-work laws for public- and private-sector unions.
Police used chemical spray Thursday to subdue protesters trying to rush the Michigan Senate chamber after Gov. Rick Snyder and other Republican leaders announced they would press for quick approval of right-to-work legislation limiting union powers.
Having just helped torpedo a labor-backed move that would have enshrined collective-bargaining rights in the state's constitution, emboldened Republican lawmakers are considering a move to make this historic bastion of union power into the nation's 24th right-to-work state.
Some Michigan lawmakers are reacting with anger to a threat by the state's largest teachers union to strike over emergency financial manager legislation signed into state law last week.
"This is about freedom, fairness and equality," House Speaker Jase Bolger, a Republican, said Tuesday morning as Democrats in the chamber sought to quash or stall a vote with a slate of amendments. "These are basic American rights — rights that should unite us."
"It is shameful for the union to put the union's interests ahead of children and show disrespect for the parents in their districts who have seen their pay and benefits reset in our struggling economy," said Michigan House Speaker Jase Bolger, Marshall Republican, in a statement opposing the union threat.