Event held to urge a right-to-work vote and show support for legislators who vote 'yes'
LANSING — Right-to-work supporters were straightforward and clear in their message to state lawmakers Tuesday: Right-to-work is an issue that needs to be voted on.
"We want a vote to be taken,” said Scott Hagerstrom, director of the Michigan Chapter of Americans For Prosperity, which hosted a lobbying rally on the Capitol lawn. "That's our main message. Either vote 'yes' or 'no,' but take a vote."
The "Freedom To Work" event was the first of a number of events scheduled for the upcoming days on right-to-work.
Employees in right-to-work states are not forced to pay union dues or fees as a condition of employment. Unions still exist but workers have the freedom to choose if they want to pay dues to be represented by the union.
So far, no right-to-work bills have been introduced in the legislature.
"Everybody seems to be handicapping what will happen here regarding right-to-work," said former Rep. Jack Hoogendyk, now with Michigan Freedom to Work. "I believe that at the moment, some members of the Senate are being a bit coy. But I have to say that I'm optimistic. I actually think it is going to happen. A lot of things have taken place over the past 20 months that have led to where we are now. There's a lot of support out there for right-to-work.
"When The Wall Street Journal contacts someone like little ol' me for a quote, you know something is going on," Hoogendyk said. "I don't think people like those at The Wall Street Journal are coming in and paying attention unless they expect something to happen."
Rep. Mike Shirkey, R-Clark Lake, who was working on a potential right-to-work bill earlier this year, said he thinks a stage has been reached where right-to-work is no longer an issue that can be dodged.
"From what I've heard when talking with my colleagues in both the House and Senate, I believe there is solid support for right-to-work," Rep. Shirkey said. "I think that if somehow we don't get to take a vote on this issue that would in fact be a vote in and of itself."
Among the functions that took place at the "Freedom To Work" event were short sessions for grassroots right-to-work supporters who planned to visit lawmakers' offices. Supporters were reminded to identify themselves to lawmakers, and to, at all times, remain respectful and concise.