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Michigan to join 'right to work' states. A blow to unions?

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“When I looked at Indiana,” Snyder said, “I said, 'Here’s an opportunity to see that pace increase.' ”

It’s too soon to know whether Indiana’s new law in fact has accelerated job growth there. Indiana’s unemployment rate fell 0.2 percent in October, but at 8 percent, it was above the national average.

Still, Indiana officials point to what they see as a positive trend.

“Over the past year Indiana has experienced one of the strongest periods of job growth in over a decade,” said Scott Sanders, commissioner of the Department of Workforce Development. “Since last October we have added nearly 67,000 private sector jobs and continue to significantly outpace the national rate of growth.” 

Maps show the regions where right-to-work laws are most prevalent: the interior West from Idaho to Arizona; the nation’s midsection from North Dakota south to Texas; and the southeast quadrant from Arkansas east to Virginia and south to Florida. Michigan is set to become the 24th such state.

Michigan is the fifth most-unionized state, with 18.3 percent of its workforce in a union, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). It trails New York (26.1 percent), Alaska (23.7), Hawaii (22.5), and Washington State (20.4).

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