News Story

Michigan Senate committee advances right-to-work repeal

Full Senate could take up bill as early as Tuesday afternoon

The Michigan Senate Labor Committee moved Tuesday morning to advance legislation to repeal right-to-work. It will move to the full Senate and could be passed in the afternoon.

If the bill does pass, it will head to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s desk to be signed into law. The House passed its right-to-work repeal last week, taking the bill from committee to a full House vote in a single day.

Sen. Dayna Polehanki, D-Livonia, bragged about the development on Twitter.

Polehanki tweeted: “It has been a long time coming—but it’s happening today in Lansing. I couldn’t be more proud to vote for workers and their families.”

Polehanki’s tweet was posted at 8:56 a.m. As of noon, most responses to Polehanki’s tweet pushed back on the senator. Of the dozens of responses, only two favored the repeal.

Andrew Brandt tweeted: “Forcing someone is the opposite of choice; how exactly does that help a family? Please explain Senator.”

The tentative Michigan Senate calendar for March 14 shows three bills on the agenda, none of which are right-to-work repeal.

But the final sentence of the agenda indicates that anything can happen.

“Any item properly before the Senate may be acted on,” the notice reads.

That includes House Bill 4004 and House Bill 4005, the right-to-work repeal efforts for the public and private sector, respectively.

The Detroit News reported that Whitmer would sign a right-to-work repeal with an appropriation attached, so as to make the bill referendum-proof. As The News reports:

Opponents of right-to-work repeal could still gather signatures to challenge the law on the ballot in 2024 but it would take a constitutional amendment, instead of a referendum, and twice the (number of) petition signatures: 446,198 instead of 223,099.

Whitmer opposed the appropriation tactic when Republicans used it in 2012 when Gov. Rick Snyder signed a right-to-work bill, and said she would not do such a thing.

The News report continues, quoting Whitmer:

‘I have fought against the creation of this barrier in the first place. I did not ask the Legislature to put that part into the bill and it certainly is not on my agenda.

‘But I am going to sign a bill that restores workers’ rights.’

The ‘not on my agenda’ line was an apparent reference to former Gov. Rick Snyder, a Republican, who once said right-to-work wasn’t on his agenda before signing the policy into law in December 2012.


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.