Obama slams Michigan GOP’s anti-union push

Updated
 

Last week, after Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) and state Republican lawmakers launched an unexpected anti-union crusade, the Obama White House issued a statement criticizing so-called “right-to-work” laws.

With this in mind, and following up on Laura Conaway’s reporting earlier, President Obama was in Michigan today, where he was even more forceful in condemning the proposal that Snyder has not yet signed into state law.

President Barack Obama weighed in on the contentious labor battle playing out in Michigan, condemning the Republican push to make Michigan a so-called “right-to-work” state as nothing more than a partisan maneuver that will hurt the working class.

“We should do everything we can to keep creating good middle-class jobs that help folks rebuild security for their families,” Obama said Monday in a speech at the Daimler Detroit Diesel plant.

“And by the way, what we shouldn’t do – I’ve just got to say this – what we shouldn’t be doing is trying to take away your rights to bargain for better wages and working conditions,” he added to loud applause from the audience. “We shouldn’t be doing that. The so-called ‘right-to-work’ laws – they don’t have to do with economics, they have everything to do with politics. What they’re really talking about is giving you the right to work for less money.”

The president’s scheduled trip to Detroit was originally focused on visiting Diesel’s Redford engine plant, but the controversy surrounding the state Republicans’ anti-union push, not surprisingly, added new significance to today’s speech.

Greg Sargent, commenting on Obama’s remarks, added, “Obama hit all the right notes. He pointed out that ‘right to work’ laws are not about boosting the economy, but about crippling the political opposition; that they are not about freedom, but about weakening workers’ ability to organize for better pay; that unions have long played a critical role in providing a path to the middle class; and that investing in a trained, well represented work force is the way to produce a broadly shared prosperity – rather than a ‘race to the bottom’ – that is better for the country as a whole.”

Update: Here’s the transcript of the president’s remarks.

Rick Snyder, Michigan and Barack Obama

Obama slams Michigan GOP's anti-union push

Updated