Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Unions to expand the battlefield in fight to repeal Mich. No Rights At Work law

Our Michigan brothers and sisters plan to tap into a broad vein of anger caused by the Legislature's lame-duck attacks on workers' rights, women's rights, civil rights, education and the environment.

Their strategy to repeal the No Rights At Work laws rammed through the Legislature will work with allies who want to roll back corporate-backed attempt to dismantle Michigan's middle class.

Bruce Vail at Working In These Times  reports on his conversation with Michigan's labor leaders:
UAW President Bob King (says he is) concentrating now on building broad coalitions to carry the fight through the 2014 elections and beyond. “We’re doing broad strategy discussions, both inside the UAW and elsewhere,” on how best to reverse the so-called “right-to-work” legislation that Snyder signed into law last month, King reports. But UAW’s goals go well beyond defeating the narrow labor legislation, he says, and include pushing back against Snyder's initiatives that undermine women’s rights, civil rights, education and the environment. 
“It’s not just labor, it’s the whole middle class,” that is suffering from Snyder’s efforts, adds Bill Black, legislative director for Michigan Teamsters Joint Council 43. Since the passage of the "right-to-work" law in December, Republican state legislators have rammed through other measures that have angered progressive groups around the state, he says.
One countermove will be legal. Vail reports a team of lawyers is crafting several court challenges to No Rights At Work.

More importantly, unions and allies will work toward electing a Democratic Legislature and a replacement for Gov. Rick Snyder in 2014. Said, King,
I look at a place like Brazil to see what we can learn from them. There, it is union people who run for office and win. And what happens? They have a booming economy and they have brought 30 million people out of poverty. ... Only a broad movement can bring change like that.