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|Wednesday, December 05, 2012
Right To Work Is On The Agenda, Snyder Says, But Still Just For Discussion
LANSING - A right-to-work bill is "on the agenda" for "thoughtful discussion," Governor Rick Snyder told reporters Tuesday night as he emerged from a closed-door meeting with legislative leadership.
While making the comments raised the likelihood that a right-to-work bill could be passed during the lame-duck session, Snyder still refused to commit to supporting such a bill.
The time is right now to discuss the issue, Snyder said, after saying all year long that it was not an issue he wanted on his agenda. Previously, Snyder had said it could cause too much controversy and detract from other issues.
What had changed, he said, was "there's been enough discussion, it's been highlighted enough, it is an important issue so it is appropriate to have a discussion and there will be decisions made in the appropriate time frame."
In one sense it is difficult to say exactly what has changed on the issue, since Snyder acknowledged there have been discussions all along on right-to-work, and since he did not make a decision on whether to support a bill.
But in reality, the governor's comments give a new urgency to the issue since he has now publicly put on the table that a decision will be made on whether to pursue a right-to-work bill and that such legislation could come during the last weeks of the lame duck session.
Snyder, flanked by Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville (R-Monroe) and House Speaker Jase Bolger (R-Marshall) would not discuss what kind of a bill might be used if a decision was made to pursue legislation. Nor was there any discussion on whether a bill would involve both private and public workers as compared to strictly public workers.
And despite acknowledging that the timeframe for making a decision was compressed, he refused to be pinned down on whether he and the leadership would make a decision on a right-to-work bill this week.
But earlier in the day in the Senate, Richardville told reporters he expected a decision would be made on the issue within the next 72 hours at most.
The message Snyder said several times in the press conference - that lasted a little more than two minutes - was that discussions, thoughtful discussions, would be held. As Gongwer has previously reported, could include discussions with unions on concessions they could make on legislation that would be a trade-off to stop a right-to-work bill.
There was no reason for those discussions to end, he said. "This is a tough issue," he said, and there could be alternatives to a right-to-work bill.
Bolger told reporters the issue was finding what the right thing for the workers of Michigan would be.
"That's what the decision will be about," he said when he and Richardville were asked if they were concerned about the threat of recalls against their members if a right-to-work bill was passed.
This latest development in the controversial proposal comes one day after the Michigan Chamber of Commerce announced its support for a right-to-work bill, they called it a "freedom to work" measure, and growing pressure for the issue was evident.
Richardville, in speaking to reporters earlier in the day, said that while the Chamber's endorsement was a new development, it was not exactly surprising, nor a game-changer.
"We always figured that the Chamber of Commerce would either be neutral or in favor, so it's not a real surprise," he said. "It's an important endorsement. We will consider things on that side of the argument more so because they have endorsed it (but) it's a little bit late in the process to be a game-changer, I'd say."
In the immediate aftermath of the announcement one labor official acknowledged he was worried.
The Michigan Corrections Organization called for its members to participate in activities opposing a right-to-work bill.
And the group Progress Michigan issued a statement calling the announcement disappointing. Zack Pohl, executive director of the organization, said he hoped Snyder would stand up to the "CEO bosses in his own party" and veto any legislation that might be passed.
This story was provided by Gongwer News Service. To subscribe, click on Gongwer.Com
Author: Staff Writer
Gongwer News Service