So this almost (but not quite) passed under the radar today here in the Great Lakes State…
From the Detroit Free Press (freep.com), dated 6 December 2012:
LANSING — Michigan, considered the birthplace of the American organized labor movement, was on a fast track to becoming the nation’s 24th right-to-work state late today after the state House and Senate passed bills as part of a package to pass the law.
Labor and Democrats were pushing back hard against the Workplace Fairness and Equity Act, but the efforts seemed futile as the controversial measures moved like greased lightning — and without going through committees or public debate — and could land on Gov. Rick Snyder’s desk by next week.
The debate raged across Michigan, and the country today, as to whether the legislation would do what proponents say, bring fairness to workers and spark economic growth; or do as opponents claim, lower wages and benefits and destroy the middle class.
“The goal isn’t to divide Michigan, it is to bring Michigan together,” said the governor, who previously had said the issue was not on his agenda.
The issue sparked vociferous protests and caused brief skirmishes on the Capitol steps between right-to-work backers and opponents. Inside, police arrested several protesters and sprayed mace at labor activists who tried to rush the Senate floor. But the protests were mostly peaceful.
Democrats in the Senate walked out of the chamber before the vote was taken.
While I certainly understand the importance of Michigan getting its financial house in order, which would result in state employees being encumbered by financial pain, I feel obligated to bring some information to light:
Four states require the most time of their state legislators, usually 80 percent or more of a full-time job: California, Pennsylvania, New York and…interestingly enough in this case…MICHIGAN.
These legislators are paid a full-time salary and have large staffs, earning enough from their legislative stipends to make a living without requiring outside income.
They generally spend more time on the job because their sessions are longer and their districts larger than most. As a result, they tend to have more staff and are compensated at a higher rate.
Weekly time on job (MI, CA, PA, NY): 80% of work week
Weekly time on job (Other states): 70%-54% of work week
Avg. staff members per legislator (MI, CA, PA, NY): 8.9
Avg. staff members per legislator (Other states): 3.1-1.2
Avg. compensation (MI, CA, PA, NY): $68,599
Avg. compensation (Other states): $35,326-$15,984
Please refresh my memory: Why exactly is the Michigan House & Senate going after “big labor” again?