Photo: Courtesy of CNN
President Barack Obama is delivering a forceful attack on Michigan’s pending “right-to-work” legislation Monday, telling workers at a Detroit auto plant that the law is motivated by politics, not economics.“What we shouldn’t be doing is try[ing] to take away your rights to bargain for better wages and working conditions,” he said. “We don’t want a race to the bottom.”
Right-to-work laws “have nothing to do with economics and they have everything to do with politics,” Obama added. “They mean you have the right to work for less money.”
The remarks, delivered to a crowd outside the Daimler Detroit Diesel Plant, come as Michigan gears up for a heated, Wisconsin-style battle over legislation that would greatly curb the power of unions in the manufacturing-heavy state. Michigan’s anti-union law, which is set to pass through the state legislature on Tuesday, would make the state the nation’s 24th right-to-work state, delivering a tangible and psychological blow to unions in a state that has been the cradle of organised labour since the mid-20th century.
Although Obama’s speech was billed as another address on the fiscal cliff, the appearance in front of a union crowd was clearly aimed at lending presidential heft to the side of the unions, which were, incidentally, instrumental in Obama’s 2012 victory.
The president also announced Monday that Daimler is making a new $100 million investment in the Detroit Diesel Plant that will make Daimler Trucks North America the first heavy-duty vehicle equipment manufacturer to build an integrated powertrain at a U.S. production facility.
It is not clear whether Obama’s remarks Monday will have any effect on Republican Gov. Rick Snyder’s decision to sign the law. The Washington Post reports that Snyder got an earful Monday from Democrats in Michigan’s congressional delegation, who argued that the law would guarantee a protracted battle between labour and management in the state. Snyder reportedly said he would take the concerns into “serious consideration.”
But hours after the confab, Snyder reaffirmed his support for the law via Twitter:
Photo: Twitter / @onetoughnerd
Although Snyder was among those who greeted Obama at the airport in Michigan Monday, he does not appear to have been present for the President’s remarks at the Detroit Diesel Plant.
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