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Warren Mayor says "not too late" to fight right-to-work

Warren Mayor Jim Fouts  is going on the warpath against Michigan's new right-to-work law, and his weapon? Bumper stickers.

Fouts is providing bumper stickers to anyone who calls his office asking for one; the stickers read, "Right to work means lower wages and benefits."

Fouts's father was a U-A-W worker, who told him the reason the family had a roof over its head, and food on the table, was because of the union.

"Unions do one thing, they increase the standard of living among the workers n the United States," says Fouts. 

He says there's "not a shred of evidence," that jobs flow to states that have right-to-work laws, but plenty of evidence that the laws depress workers' wages and benefits.

The state's new "right to work" law lets people opt out of paying union dues even if a union negotiates a contract on their behalf.

He says voters should demand a referendum on the law. 

That wouldn't be easy.

Because the law had an appropriations bill attached to it, a referendum can only be accomplished first by voters petitioning the state legislature to repeal the law.  The petition would have to collect 8% of the number of votes cast for the Governor.

Then, if the legislature refuses to repeal the law, people could organize a ballot referendum, meaning, they'd have to collect signatures again - but this time, only 5% of the votes cast for Governor.

Governor Snyder says the law immediately resulted in companies becoming more interested in setting up shop in Michigan.


Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Radio. She began her career at Michigan Radio as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.