Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed bills on Friday to strengthen workers’ rights in Michigan, reversing a 2012 right-to-work law and a reinstatement of the prevailing wage standard for state-funded construction projects.
The repeal allows businesses and unions to reach agreements requiring union workers to pay union dues or fees, and also fires up the minority Republicans who now vow to push for a ballot initiative proposal to place right-to-work into the state Constitution in 2024.
“Michigan workers are the most talented and hard-working in the world and deserve to be treated with dignity and respect,” Whitmer said in a released statement. “These bills will protect health and safety, ensuring health care workers can put patient care ahead of profit, construction workers can speak up when there’s a safety issue and employees can call attention to food safety threats and other problems. Let’s continue delivering for working people and ensuring Michigan is open for business.”
Just over half of states have right-to-work laws in place. Today Whitmer made Michigan the first state in nearly 60 years to abandon the policy opposed by labor advocates.
In 2012, then-Governor Rick Snyder signed right-to-work into law while thousands of protesters were outside the Capitol. Gretchen Whitmer was the minority leader of the state Senate.
Watch her work as a badass state Senator in the clip below.
In 2018, Republicans repealed the prevailing wage standard, dropping a requirement that guaranteed union-scale wages and benefits on public projects, such as road and school construction.
In 2018, Whitmer ran for governor on a platform to repeal right-to-work and to “fix the damn roads.”