By Ashleigh Costello
LANSING, Mich. – Top Michigan lawmakers have turned their attention to right-to-work legislation after facing increased pressure from conservative advocates and business groups.
Gov. Rick Snyder made waves Tuesday by changing his mind and announcing that right-to-work legislation “is on the agenda.” He said no decision has been made on whether or when to pass such a law, according to the Detroit Free Press.
The governor’s remarks signal a departure from his previous stance. For months Snyder had labeled the issue as “too divisive.”
“There’s been enough discussion now that it has been highlighted enough, it’s an important issue, so we are going to talk about it,” Snyder told reporters following a lengthy meeting with GOP legislative leaders Tuesday. “There will be decisions made in the appropriate time frame.”
Snyder’s change of stance comes in the wake of mounting support for a right-to-work law. In November, voters rejected the union-backed Proposal 2, which would have enshrined collective bargaining rights in the state’s constitution and made right-to-work illegal.
Snyder would not state whether he would support a right-to-work law, only saying, “We’re having thoughtful discussions.”
The announcement came after Snyder emerged from a late closed-door meeting with Lt. Gov. Brian Calley, Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, House Speaker Jase Bolger and a handful of top union officials, including American Federation of Teachers Michigan President David Hecker.
Union officials had no immediate comment Tuesday, but Hecker told reporters, “We’re involved in talks.”
Recent surveys have shown that a majority of Michiganders would support right-to-work legislation. One poll showed 51 percent of residents favoring such a law and 41 percent opposing it, according to Mitchell Research & Communication.
The Michigan Chamber of Commerce, which had been neutral, came out in favor of right-to-work legislation Monday.