IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Top links: Everything you always wanted to know about the Michigan right-to-work fight (but were afraid to ask)

Yes, it’s another of our “Everything you always wanted to know ...” series.
Large right-to-work protests, like the one here in Lansing, MI, are expected throughout the state today.(AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
Large right-to-work protests, like the one here in Lansing, MI, are expected throughout the state today.

Yes, it’s another of our “Everything you always wanted to know ...” series. Today, we present the complete guide to Michigan, right-to-work laws and why this fight is coming to your state (if it hasn't already)—plus a few fiscal cliff headlines we’ll be talking about at 4 p.m.

  • Mass protests—not to mention national hand-wringing among union activists across the country—are expected as Michigan, birthplace of the modern labor movement, becomes the 24th state to sign anti-union right-to-work laws. (NBC News)
  • And the Detroit Free Press, which endorsed Gov. Rick Snyder two years ago, has come out swinging against the Republican governor: “[Rick] Snyder has pulled one of the more offensive bait-and-switches in recent political memory. During his campaign and since his election, has said right-to-work was too divisive for Michigan and that it wasn’t on his agenda. Then last week, he did a monumental skin-back on that position.” (Detroit Free Press)
  • Incidentally, police and firefighter unions are exempt from the new law—but they don’t sound happy about their special exception. “’We’re happy they are doing it, but they shouldn’t do it at all,’ said Capt. Kevin Tomaszewski of the Wayne-Westland Fire Department.” (The Detroit News)
  • So why’s everyone so up-in-arms? Because “if Michigan can become a right-to-work state…pretty much any state can with a change in government.” (The American Prospect)
  • Here's another big reason people are so angry at Snyder and state Republicans: “All of this is being done now, during the lame duck session, because Republicans know they don’t have the votes to jam these bills through after the new legislators elected in November are sworn in.” (Eclectablog)
  • Or, as one protester put it: Republicans “took the coward’s way out” for moving the bills during the lame-duck session. (
  • Republicans see things a bit differently: “Many saw the push as retribution for unions trying, though ultimately failing, to enshrine collective bargaining rights in the Michigan Constitution with Proposal 2.” (Crain’s Detroit Business)
  • Okay, but what are right-to-work laws? Associated Press has you covered. (Associated Press)
  • So how do right-to-work laws affect a state’s economy? 1) Hurt Democrats 2) hurt workers 3) Unknown (Wonkblog)
  • Whose bucks are backing this fight? A right-wing think tank funded by a billionaire who lost his gubernatorial election six years ago. In other words: Exactly whom you’d expect. (The Nation)
  • The fight is so big the players association for baseball and football are backing unions in this fight. (Think Progress)
  • Oh, and while you were so focused on the right-to-work laws, Michigan’s senate also passed some draconian anti-abortion laws. (The Huffington Post)

And in other headlines …

  • Hear that? No? Good. That silence may be the sound of a fiscal cliff compromise under way. (First Read)
  • And Speaker Boehner and the rest of the House GOP appear to have averted a coup—assuming Paul Ryan doesn’t break ranks. (Robert Costa)
  • The fight over the Egyptian constitution is spilling over into Egyptian communities here in the U.S. (The Lede)
  • John Kerry may have figured out the best way possible to miss jury duty. (Reid Wilson)
  • The CIA is a little different than pictured in “Zero Dark Thirty”: “The agency is a funny place, very insular. It’s like middle schoolers with clearances.” (The Washington Post)
  • And Yale scientists have named a new slender-jawed lizard after the president: Obamadon gracilis (The Globe)