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Lawmakers in Michigan approve right-to-work bills

Michigan lawmakers gave final approval Tuesday to right-to-work legislation, dealing a once-unthinkable defeat to organized labor in a state that has been a cradle of the movement for generations.
By JOHN FLESHER and JEFF KAROUB Modified: December 11, 2012 at 11:29 pm •  Published: December 12, 2012
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U.S. Sen. Carl Levin and other Democrats in the state's congressional delegation urged Snyder to slow things down.

For millions of Michigan workers, Levin said, “it's an assault on their right to have their elected bargaining agent negotiate their pay, benefits and working conditions, and to have all who benefit from such negotiations share in some way in the cost of obtaining them.”

The crowds were considerably smaller than those drawn by right-to-work legislation in Indiana this year and in Wisconsin in 2011, during consideration of a law ending collective bargaining rights for most state employees.

In Michigan, Republicans acted so quickly that opponents had little time to plan massive resistance.

“This was a problem that needed to be solved,” Snyder said. He expects the law to be challenged but thinks it will stand.

A failed ballot proposal to put collective bargaining rights in the state constitution paved the way to right-to-work, he said.