by Félix Pérez
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney waded into rough water while on the campaign trail in Michigan Thursday, February 16, when he doubled down on his support for a national right to work law despite the state’s governor, who endorsed Romney, saying he considers the issue “very divisive” and that there are more important issues facing the state.
“We’re going to have right-to-work where union members decide whether they will belong to the union,” Romney said at a campaign stop at a steel processing plant.
Even Governor Rick Snyder, who has earned the wrath of educators and workers statewide for making $1.2 billon cuts to schools, universities and local governments while cutting the corporate income tax by $1.8 billion and asking for $180 million in concessions from public employees, won’t go near right to work, which convulsed neighboring Indiana for months.
“I’m firm in my position that it shouldn’t be something I want to see on my desk and we shouldn’t be spending time in Michigan on it,” said Snyder, offering what some characterized as a less-than-full-throated endorsement of Romney.
Romney said if elected president he would use the “bully pulpit” to encourage states to enact right to work laws. He has previously pledged to dismantle the National Labor Relations Board, the federal agency charged with enforcing legal and regulatory protections for workers and against employer abuses.
A report by the Economic Policy Institute calls right to work the “wrong answer for Michigan’s economy.” Right to work laws, the report concludes, do not boost job growth in states that adopt them, and they lower wages and reduce benefits for both union and non-union workers.
Michigan will hold its Republican presidential primary February 28.
Learn more about where Romney and other presidential candidates stand on the issues that matter to the middle class. Receive weekly emails to stay up to date on Election 2012 and efforts nationwide to push back against right to work and other anti-worker legislative proposals.