The staff of Detroit’s largest daily newspaper published a blistering editorial on Sunday, saying Michigan governor Richard Snyder had “betrayed” the state’s trust by coming out in support of anti-union right-to-work legislation.
“Michigan voters who provided Snyder’s margin of victory in 2010 feel betrayed, and they have every justification,” wrote the editorial board of the Detroit Free Press. “If he was ever serious about being the governor who brought Michiganders together, Snyder has just sent himself back to Square One.”
Until last week, Snyder, a Republican, had been publicly opposed to making Michigan a right-to-work state. However, he abruptly changed his tune on Thursday, as the state’s Republican-controlled legislature gave its stamp of approval to new right-to-work legislation.
The Free Press editorial argues that Snyder’s change of position was borne out of “the determination to emasculate, once and for all, the Democratic Party’s most reliable source of financial and organizational support.” It also claims that the push to make Michigan right-to-work was driven by Republican legislators, and that Snyder is leading instead of following. Near the end of the editorial, its writers quote Snyder as saying that right-to-work legislation was “on the table whether I wanted it to be on the table or not.”
Though the editorial implies that Snyder was saying that other Republican politicians had put right-to-work on the table, other Michigan observers have suggested otherwise. On Friday, United Auto Workers President Bob King accused big money interests—like the Koch Brothers and Michigan businessman Dick Devos—of bullying state Republicans into introducing and voting for the bills.
The legislature is poised to grant final approval to those laws on Tuesday, at which point they will go to Snyder’s desk to be signed. Tens of thousands of pro-union protesters are expected to descend on the state’s capital that day for a Wisconsin-style populist protest.