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Michigan repeals right to work law

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Michigan has repealed its 11-year-old right-to-work law after a push from the Michigan Professional Fire Fighters Union (MPFFU) and other labour organisations in the state. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer made it official upon signing the legislation calling for the law’s removal at the end of March. 

International Fire Chief’s Association General President Edward Kelly said that he applauds and the state’s legislators for ‘doing the right thing’: “We must all keep up the fight to preserve workers’ rights and use our collective voices to improve working conditions, wages, and benefits. When we fight as one, we win.” 

When the right-to-work law was proposed over a decade ago, the MPFFU and thousands of other supporters descended on the state capitol to protest. Despite the outcry, the law – which prohibits unions from requiring non-union employees to pay dues, even if it bargains on their behalf – was still passed in 2012. 

 I am very proud of everything MPFFU President Matthew Sahr and his team have done to help our union brothers and sisters in this fight,” said 8th District Vice President Mark Sanders. “This is a great day for all of labor in Michigan.” 

“We are very pleased with Gov. Whitmer and the state legislature’s action on this,” said Sahr. “The MPFFU is always proud to stand with its union brothers and sisters on any issue. Stronger unions equal a stronger working class.” 

What is a right-to-work law?

A “right-to-work” law is a type of labour law that allows employees to work at a unionised workplace without being required to join a union or pay union dues as a condition of employment. Essentially, it gives employees the “right to work” at a unionised workplace without having to financially support the union.

Opponents of right-to-work laws argue that they weaken the power of labour unions and can result in lower wages and benefits for workers. They argue that these laws can also lead to increased inequality, as some workers may choose not to join a union and thus may not have access to the same wages and benefits as union members.

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