Michigan Senate puts right-to-work on a 'fast track'

After hours of debate, Michigan's Senate approved right-to-work legislation on Thursday. Supports say the right-to-work measure will boost jobs, while opponents worry that labor will lose some of its bargaining power. 

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    A union steel worker holds up a sign during a rally outside the Capitol in Lansing, Mich., Thursday, as Senate Republicans introduced right-to-work legislation in the waning days of the legislative session.
    AP Photo/Carlos Osorio
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The Michigan Senate has passed right-to-work legislation, following earlier approval by the House.

The bills would prohibit unions from collecting fees from nonunion workers, which opponents say would weaken organized labor's ability to bargain for good wages while supporters say it would boost jobs.

A measure dealing with private-sector workers passed on a 22-16 vote Thursday after hours of impassioned debate. Four Republicans joined all 12 Democrats in opposition.

Moments after it passed, the Senate passed a bill with similar provisions for government employees. Democrats walked out before the bill was approved on a 22-4 vote.

Union activists repeatedly shouted protests from the gallery and cheered Democrats who denounced the measure.

Gov. Rick Snyder and GOP legislative leaders announced earlier Thursday they would put right-to-work on a fast track.


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