This is big: During the 2012 lame-duck session, Michigan Republicans passed a so-called right-to-work (RTW) law that then-Gov. Rick Snyder had explicitly said wasn't on his agenda. Since that law went into effect, union density in Michigan has dropped from 16.5% to 13.3%. But last November, Democrats won control of both chambers of the state legislature for the first time in decades, and Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer was reelected. Repealing the anti-union law, which allows workers to freeload on their fellow workers, opting out of paying the costs of their union representation while getting the same benefits as people paying union dues—the improved contracts that are bargained, the support in case of grievances—became a possibility with that election.
And now it’s becoming a reality. Both the state House and Senate have voted to repeal RTW, and Whitmer has pledged to sign the bill into law. This is the first time a state has repealed a RTW law in nearly 60 years, according to Elise Gould and Jennifer Sherer of the Economic Policy Institute. Yet it’s also part of a trend. In 2022, Illinois voters passed a constitutional amendment banning such laws in the state, and in 2018, Missouri voters said no to an attempt by their state legislature to pass RTW.
● Reform candidate Shawn Fain appears to have won the presidency of the UAW. Luis Feliz Leon and Jane Slaughter write:
“Shawn Fain ran a campaign on the promise of true reform in the UAW,” said Justin Mayhugh, a General Motors worker at the Fairfax Assembly plant in Kansas City and a member of Unite All Workers for Democracy, the caucus formed in 2019 to fight for members’ right to vote on top officers. UAWD backed Fain’s UAW Members United slate. ...
And not a moment too soon. The Big 3 auto contracts with Ford, GM, and Stellantis (formerly Chrysler) expire in six months, and the industry is undergoing major changes with the rise of electric vehicles. The Big 3 now have less than half of the domestic auto market and more than half of all U.S. auto workers are non-union.
● In the wake of Barbara Ehrenreich’s death, a retrospective from Sarah Jaffe: The hard head and wild heart of Barbara Ehrenreich.
● Child labor laws are under attack in states across the country.
● Democrats in the New York state legislature want to raise the state's minimum wage. The question is by how much.
● Some Democrats in Congress, including Sen. Bernie Sanders, are pushing for a $60,000 minimum wage for teachers. It won’t happen as long as Republicans and conservative Democrats have the power to stop it, but it’s a nice thought, isn’t it?
Minnesota authorities have filed a temporary restraining order against a southwest Minnesota meat processor for allegedly employing children as young as 13 to operate meat grinders, ovens and a forklift.
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