An unholy alliance of Tea Party Republicans in the Michigan statehouse and the billionaire Koch brothers are on the brink of making Michigan the latest state to pass right to work (for less) legislation.
The pending legislation was rammed through Michigan’s GOP-controlled House and Senate in a matter of days with no public input, no committee hearings, no floor debate and no opportunity for the public to review or respond to the proposed law.
At one point, as word of the legislative coup began to spread, the Republican House Speaker ordered the doors of the capitol building to be locked, while protestors outside were maced by police and Democrats sought a court order to reopen the building.
The GOP lawmakers also attached a measure to the bill that effectively bars the legislation from being reversed through public referendum.
After repeatedly claiming he found right-to-work to be “very divisive” and that it was not on his agenda, Michigan’s Republican Governor Rick Snyder abruptly announced last week he was now prepared to sign the legislation to ban union security clauses for private and public sector unions, except for police and firefighters’ unions.
“If you’re not outraged by what’s happening in Michigan, you’re not paying enough attention,” said IAM President Tom Buffenbarger. “The way this legislation was passed amounts to a sneak attack on democracy itself and proves beyond a doubt the means the Koch brothers and their allies will go to impose their extremist agenda.”
While Gov. Snyder said he plans to sign the legislation before the end of the year, the exemptions for police and firefighters’ unions may violate equal protection laws and could be overturned upon judicial review.