December 11, 2012: More than 12,000 union members and supporters flooded the State Capitol in Michigan to protest the passage of Right-to-Work (for Less) legislation.
Police closed the Capitol to visitors when it reached capacity of 2,200 people. More than 10,000 Teamsters, Autoworkers, teachers, building trades workers, other union members and public supporters swarmed the outside.
The House passed a Right to Work bill covering public sector workers by 58 to 51. The state's Senate approved the bill last week. The House is now scheduled to vote on a right-to-work bill for private-sector employees.
When Right-to-Work legislation was passed in Ohio, the labor movement mobilized a successful referendum to reverse the legislation. But, in a legislative trick, the Michigan Right-to-Work legislation is attached to an appropriations bill and can't be reversed by referendum.
One possibility for the labor movement would be to launch a "veto referendum" that would be triggered by collecting signatures equal to 5% of the votes cast in the last election for governor.
There is another option called a "statutory initiative" which would require signatures from 8% of the voters in the last gubernatorial election. That would allow the public to vote on Right-to-Work legislation in November 2014 when Governor Rick Snyder is up for reelection.
Whatever the tactics, the fight against Right-to-Work (for Less) in Michigan has just begun.