AFSCME vows to fight to protect privileges for 17.5 percent of state's workforce
Michigan's unions will devote all their resources to fight the recently passed right-to-work law by trying to overturn it in court, doing recalls of politicians, holding rallies and trying to get it put on the ballot, according to a top union leader’s comments during a recent teleconference.
Al Garrett, president of Michigan AFSCME Council 25, and Larry Roehrig, secretary treasurer, laid out their plans about how to “attack” the law. The conference call was recorded and Michigan Capitol Confidential obtained the audio file.
"There is going to be retribution," Garrett said.
Garrett predicted that right-to-work law would be repealed in some manner within two years.
He said recall action would start "as soon as we can." He said union lawyers are combing over the law to see if it can be overturned in court.
Any legal action wouldn’t begin until after the legislators are out of session, which Garrett estimated would be Dec. 27.
"We don’t want to give them an opportunity to correct their mistakes," he said. "There is going to be undoubtedly some petition effort."
Garrett said the union will publish the names of the Republican legislators who voted for the right-to-work legislation that Gov. Rick Snyder signed into law Dec. 11. Garrett said the union would post those legislators names on the union's website.
"We will not forget the folks who did this to us," he said.
About 17.5 percent of Michigan's workforce belongs to a union. A right-to-work law gives workers the freedom to choose whether they want to pay dues or fees to a union. Previously, workers could be fired for not paying dues or fees.
Roehrig said 116 people chose not to be members of the Michigan AFSCME Council 25 and instead paid agency fees.
Garrett said he expects a few more than 100 to exercise their new right to opt-out of the union.
"There is no cure for stupid, and that’s what we saw this week from the Republican side of the aisle," Roehrig said.
Here is the full teleconference: