In a long-sought victory for labor unions, Michigan governor repeals 'right to work' law Reuters-Midwestern Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed a package of bills repealing the state's so-called right to work law that allowed workers to opt out of unions.
Whitmer became the first governor since the 1960s to roll back right-to- work legislation. Twenty-six other U.S. states and the territory of Guam still have right-to-work laws on the books, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Michigan workers are the most talented and hard-working in the world and deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, said Whitmer, a two-term Democrat.
The Michigan House Bills 4004 and 4007 and Senate Bill 34 passed the Democratic-controlled state legislature earlier this month. House Bill 4007 requires that contractors hired by the state pay a so-called prevailing wage, the amount used in hiring union workers.
The Michigan state legislature, controlled by Republicans, passed a right-to- work law in 2012 over the objections of union activists. It was signed into law by then-Governor Rick Snyder, a Republican.
Republicans opposed repealing that law this year, arguing that it would hurt businesses and make the state less attractive to companies.
Since its peak in the 1950s, union membership has declined sharply in the United States, when more than a third of workers belong to a union.
Membership dropped to a all-time low of 10.1% in 2022 despite a surge in organizing during the COVID-19 epidemic, according to data released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in January.