Union issues have already roiled the Midwest. A 2011 bill to ban collective bargaining for public unions led to protests in Wisconsin and a failed bid to recall the governor earlier this year. A similar bill passed in Ohio was reversed in a voter referendum. Meanwhile, Indiana and Iowa are already among the 23 right-to-work states nationwide – though Democrats in Indiana originally fled the Statehouse in a failed attempt to stop the bill.
It is not certain if the bill will surface in the near future in Michigan. Gov. Rick Snyder (R), a moderate, is on record saying the law is too divisive, while hard-liners like Senate Finance Committee Chairman Jack Brandenburg told the Detroit News Thursday the bill should get pushed through “sooner rather than later.”
“We’ve been very patient with the unions. I think we have the votes to get it done,” state Senator Brandenburg said.
Republicans control both the House and Senate in Michigan, although Democrats narrowed the Republican majority in the House by five Tuesday. Sen. Patrick Colbeck (R) says he plans to introduce the bill but did not specify when. He told the Detroit News that “it would take a Herculean effort” to get the bill passed in the upcoming session, suggesting that supporters might need more time to bring moderate Republicans on board. Those include Senate majority leader Randy Richardville, who has said he did not believe the legislation would be helpful to the state economy.