Michigan, Right to Work, and the Kochs

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Dec. 11 2012 11:54 AM

Michigan, Right to Work, and the Kochs

The Detroit Free Press has been writing daily editorials to condemn the likely passage of right-to-work in a lame duck session. Today -- following the same schedule as newspapers in Wisconsin during that state's union fight -- it blames ALEC and the Kochs for stoking this so quickly.

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

Certainly, there are a large number of Michigan legislators who are beholden to Americans for Prosperity, or the Koch brothers. Word is the groups threatened Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville's leadership post, and promised him a primary challenge in 2014, if he refused to move right-to-work forward.
Advertisement

AFP spokesman Levi Russell calls this an "absolute lie," one that doesn't take into account the ordinary politics of the situation. "AFP hasn’t promised to primary Richardville or anyone else," he says. "Frankly, the concept of more freedom in the workplace and keeping more of your paycheck sells itself. It’s the unions that have been tossing out threats and using scare tactics trying to maintain control over the very workers who pay their exorbitant salaries."

Publicly, AFP in Michigan had spent November pressuring the Assembly Republicans* to decide against a state health care exchange, which he did. The speed of this has more to do with Republican losses in the November election. If, in the new session, the new Democrats joined with the Republicans who'd previously opposed right to work, the bill would fail.

UPDATE: And here, via Lee Stranahan, is video of union protesters shouting at AFP's faction outside the Capitol, demanding that they strike their tent.

*I originally wrote "Gov. Snyder" instead - pure accident.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter.