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Michigan Senate approves bill to repeal right-to-work law

A similar bill was approved by the State House of Representatives last week.

LANSING, Michigan — The Michigan Senate passed a bill Tuesday night to repeal the right-to-work law. A similar bill was approved by the House last week.

The repeal of the right-to-work law is one of the Democrats' top goals this year after taking control of the state legislature. The bill was approved along party lines in a 20-to-17 vote.

During that vote, hundreds of people filled the state Capitol, cheering loudly when the bill passed.

The right-to-work law was enacted in 2012 when Republicans controlled all three branches of state government. It prohibits unions from requiring non-union employees to pay dues, even if they bargain for the employee.

Democrats say the repeal restores worker rights, adding that wages have suffered in the last decade.

Business advocates and Republicans, however, say the law made Michigan more competitive nationally.

"Michigan has been made better off because of the because of the right-to-work policy and some other key policy changes that happened about ten years ago," Brian Calley, CEO of the Small Business Association of Michigan says. 

"If you look at personal income growth in the nine years before right-to-work passed, it was less than 1% after taking inflation into account. And then the nine or ten years since, it's grown about 22% after inflation." 

There are 27 states with right-to-work laws in place, including Indiana and Wisconsin. 

The Senate's version now goes back to the state House for a vote, and Governor Gretchen Whitmer said she will sign the the bill when it arrives at her desk.

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