"Right-to-Work" Wrong for Michigan or any State Seeking Economic Prosperity


Friday, December 7, 2012
CONTACT: Charles Monaco, Director of Communications and New Media, Progressive States Network,

Progressive States Network: "Right-to-Work" Wrong for Michigan or any State Seeking Economic Prosperity


New York, NY — Yesterday, in a matter of hours and as constituents filled the Michigan state Capitol in protest, conservative members of Michigan’s legislature introduced, debated, and then passed controversial “right-to-work” legislation during a lame duck session. Progressive States Network, a national non-profit organization dedicated to supporting the work of progressive state legislators around the country, released a statement strongly opposing the policy.

“Governor Snyder and conservatives in Michigan are currently engaged in an outrageous effort to ram through legislation that will harm families, drive up poverty, and erode economic security for all residents and businesses in their state,” said Ann Pratt, Executive Director of Progressive States Network. “In 2011 and 2012, hundreds of state legislators from every state in the nation stood up to oppose similar attacks on the middle class that took place in states like Wisconsin and Ohio, and as we’ve seen in just the past few days, they are prepared to do so again if need be now and through 2013 sessions. ‘Right-to-work’ is clearly wrong for Michigan and for any state seeking real economic prosperity.”

The “right-to-work” initiative in Michigan is part of a national strategy on the part of corporate-backed groups to attack collective bargaining rights in statehouses. As reports have noted, the effort to pass “right-to-work” in Michigan has been undertaken with the “coordinated support” of the Koch Brothers. The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has also long backed similar legislation, including the policy as one of many criteria by which states are rated in their annual state economic rankings — whose methodology was just debunked in a report released last week.

According to Census and Bureau of Labor Statistics surveys, residents of states with “right-to-work” laws suffer from a lower quality of life, with those states seeing lower wages, fewer residents with health insurance coverage, and higher poverty rates.

In 2011, as attacks on labor were winding through statehouses across the nation, hundreds of state legislators joined with Progressive States Network to stand in solidarity with Wisconsin state senators who had fled the state in an attempt to forestall Gov. Scott Walker’s attack on collective bargaining rights, eventually joining counterparts from 50 states to send a strong message of support for workers across the nation who were facing similar attacks in their state Capitols.

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Progressive States Network ( is a non-partisan, non-profit organization dedicated to supporting the work of progressive state legislators around the country and to the advancement of state policies that deliver on the issues that matter to working families: integrating immigrants into our communities, strong wage standards and workplace freedom, balancing work and family responsibilities, health care for all, smart growth and clean energy, tax and budget reform, clean and fair elections, and technology investments to bridge the digital divide.