Republicans Against Right-to-Work
Four Michigan Senators voted against worker freedom
For nearly two years, many doubted a right-to-work bill had enough support in the State Senate for passage. In December, the measure passed easily.
Republicans, led by Gov. Rick Snyder, resoundingly approved the bill, which became a reality after unions in Michigan tried to pass Proposal 2 in November. Four Republican State Senators, however, voted against giving workers the freedom to choose whether they want to pay union dues or fees as a condition of employment.
They were: Sen. Tory Rocca, R-Sterling Heights; Sen. Mike Green, R-Mayville; Sen. Mike Nofs, R-Battle Creek; and Sen. Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba.
Michigan becoming the nation's 24th right-to-work state made headlines across the nation and sparked union protests at the State Capitol.
Sens. Casperson and Nofs stood by their votes when contacted. Sens. Green and Rocca didn't respond to requests for comment.
Of the four, Sen. Nofs might have gone out on a limb the most by voting against the right-to work legislation. He represents the 19th Senate district, which covers Barry, Calhoun and Ionia counties. According to an Inside Michigan Politics analysis published in July 2011, the 19th District has a 55.6 Republican base.
"I think that, in general, working-class workers will not benefit from this," Sen. Nofs said. "When you go to apply for a job, you know it's a union job. If you don't like unions, don't apply for a union job. There are plenty of other non-union jobs."
Sen. Rocca represents the 10th Senate district, which is located in Macomb County, and is 52.6 percent Republican, according to Inside Michigan Politics.
Sen. Green represents the 31st Senate district, which includes Bay, Lapeer and Tuscola counties. According to the Inside Michigan Politics analysis, it has a 50.8 Republican base.
Of the GOP senators who voted against right-to-work, Sen. Casperson is the only one who contends in a Democrat-leaning district. He represents the 38th Senate district, which covers the Western and Central Upper Peninsula and according to the Inside Michigan Politics report, had a 53. 8 percent Democratic base.
"My position on this issue has been consistent both as a candidate and after I was elected," Sen. Casperson said. "If people disagree with me on this, that's all right. Not everyone is going to agree with me on every vote.
"I was very active back when the tea party movement started. I went to rallies and I have always supported what it was all about," he said. "When it began, it was all about government becoming too big. It was about government overreach, unfair regulations and government intruding in our lives. But now it seems that some people want to make it be about being anti-union. Whether it's working to get rid of unreasonable DNR (Department of Natural Resources) regulations or on other issues, I'm willing to work with anyone. In my district I work well with the unions and, to me, that's doing my job. Some people may not like that, but I think that's the way it should be."
Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.