'Right to Work' or 'Freedom to Freeload'?
Michigan Education Association President Steve Cook tells Alan about the fight over new anti-union legislation.
- Duration 11:15
- Date Dec 8, 2012
Michigan Education Association President Steve Cook tells Alan about the fight over new anti-union legislation.
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Both the -- to the Michigan has approved measures prohibiting private unions from requiring that nonunion employees.
Pay fees and this happened just hours after these bills were introduced the senate then quickly followed by -- to impose the same requirements -- most public unions.
And because there are rules require a five day delay between votes in the two chambers.
Final -- -- not take place until Tuesday.
And Republican governor Rick Snyder.
Who said repeatedly that right to work was not on his agenda said he would sign the measures and probably pretty quickly Steve cook as president.
Of the Michigan education association's -- thanks for coming on tonight what does all this mean for workers in Michigan.
Well it it means nothing -- I mean this is a and attack and organized labor to attack kind of collective bargaining of -- of particular to class and attack.
The workers in the middle class.
You know it it's important to note that -- organized labor myself included with through three under individuals.
With the UAW -- rebel in the AFP Michigan have been -- discussing this issue with the governor for about ten days.
-- we've been discussing with the governor we've been discussing -- with the speaker and the majority leader in the senate.
We thought we were headed in a very good place.
-- we were.
More or less -- led to believe that.
The governor when he said he did not want this on his desk.
That the debt trajectory where we were headed and we were absolutely blind sided.
Thursday morning when the governor got behind a microphone and say you know what.
I'm an assignment we're gonna run it.
We -- that governor blatantly lied to you.
Well I the governor I think did.
You know I can't blame his staff Ford because I think his staff -- -- by the zionists what with -- disease as they could possibly -- But yet we were blind sided and it's interesting that there should take place all around Pearl Harbor day because we'll tell you what.
We've been dealing with these three groups try to prevent this war.
We thought we had a partner in that effort in the governor's office.
And it turns out that they had been preparing for instead of peace no war all along and they pretty much dropped -- Thursday morning.
You -- what -- -- the introduces in the house and the senate.
They got to build about an hour before they responsible nobody -- In a were quickly voted out of both chambers within about three and a half hours.
Snyder says and I quote and this is Null and this is all about taking care.
Of the hard working workers in Michigan being pro worker and giving them freedom to make choices the goal isn't to divide Michigan to bring Michigan together.
Well let me tell you something the governor it's -- for quite a while that this would be an extremely.
Does -- have issues and we agreed with -- And it would divide -- state it would bring this state together and he said that over and over and over and over -- matter effect when we -- meeting with him.
He was under the the pretext -- the pretense.
That to keep this bill off his desk help me help you let's not I don't want this -- on my desk.
Help me to bring this state together and that's exactly -- -- spirits.
His way organized labor went into those discussions with a and it turns out I think.
We we were.
Swim plan but -- -- the term now all of a sudden he's going to -- itself but the idea really that we have a group of Republicans in Michigan.
This suddenly take it upon themselves to help labor unions to help the middle class to help the worker that just doesn't pass the giggle test.
Now he is also saying that when influence and was -- reports of ninety companies.
Decided to have -- an Indiana.
Since they adopted like to work legislation.
And the thousands of jobs that he wants or his state.
Could be lost because.
Without this -- religiously.
Well yet but the effect is and I and I heard the reports from these gentlemen in -- that -- try to run that's what he's received to this point.
As I understand it and from what he said is a lot of phone calls.
That indicate they may be interest in moving to Indiana.
I've talked to a lot of people in her from a lot of people here in Michigan.
And when companies come here diminished and and -- contact them.
The Big Three that are here for example and other auto companies that comment no one ever asks the question by the way are you right to work.
They look at the labor management cooperation that home that -- the atmosphere in this state and right now it is absolutely divided and it's going to get worse.
I can't see where -- company.
Would wanna commit that this kind of atmosphere and bring they're they're they're they're companies their people their jobs to this state it it it doesn't work.
It has not worked in Indiana did not work in Oklahoma and -- not gonna work here in Michigan.
Why should non union members pay -- What should any idea is now -- this is about really that.
I mean in terms of I know it's forced to join the union but they still have to pay into it right -- have to pay -- Well because -- band members have received all of the all of the benefits protections and services.
Under the contract if that contract if the union bargains an increase in pay for an increase -- benefits.
Debt mountain member -- those benefits.
As they have forever.
And when a non member -- -- law -- -- any kind of trouble on the job and might need the services reunion of the protections of the union.
For -- due process rights we are -- we are we must by law provide those benefits.
So they should pay for that and and it is it's a misnomer to say that -- members.
-- individuals who don't wanna do in the unions have to -- -- of course you pay your fair share the that covered your share of the collective bargaining.
And your share of the protect other protections that we offers self.
Yeah about paying the full membership fee you're not considered a member of the union but two are paying your fair share -- not freeloading you pay your -- your paying your way.
Is the phrase right to work in the wrong way to put it.
Yeah I think it's freedom to -- -- For so what's going to be the result of global aussies and -- -- you've got a Republican House and senate.
In Michigan so there's not a lot of I guess leverage for union members and Democrats right to make a difference here.
Yeah and -- failure actually write the the -- just gone they have a supermajority in the in the senate they have absolute majority in the in the house this is going to happen.
So -- rolling real alternative we have under the Michigan law and the rules -- we have we can't bring this up for referendum because they attached appropriation of the bill that's the rules here in Michigan.
So our job really now is looking at the next two years.
The -- is that they will not have a moment's peace.
The individuals who voted for this the governor who voted for this -- this going to sign -- will not have a moment's peace.
For the next two years everything is -- Towards the primary in general election in 2014.
That is our opportunity to fix this or we're gonna take advantage -- -- -- -- when -- governor says this is divisive he does not know the meaning of the work.
But two years he will it's one of those things where you can't stop people from doing dumb things but we don't make -- wish -- -- This is energizing unions to get behind.
Have some other candidates.
Whoever is there a particular candidate -- -- to replace.
Well I personally have won but but she hasn't not what -- -- you -- -- that kind of take care of itself but I believe the labor will quickly coalesce.
A -- a candidate for governor hopefully that individual come out much sooner rather than later.
And yes absolutely we're going to be together on this and labor has been together in a very unique way.
The Michigan Education Association we belonged to the NEA.
But we're very close with the federation were very close with the United Auto Workers were very close with the American federation of labor hot -- At the end of this we get a -- -- -- big fruit basket because he has organized organized labor like nobody else has ever done.
Steve cook is with us president of the Michigan education association's I understand -- they exempted police and fire correct -- program -- that.
Well I I don't know I don't know but you know what -- bless them.
There -- exempted from this you know for a whole week we've been hearing about.
The freedom to work things so apparently they don't want the police and fire to have freedom.
But that's their deal police and fire exempted.
I don't know why I think everybody ought to be exempted -- -- to work so I I -- no grudge with police and fire but I really don't understand.
Why all of a sudden if you if this is such a good deal for labor such a good deal for workers such a good deal for the middle class.
Why they would certainly say well you two groups you don't count we're gonna polio.
You've got a long way to go to get mr.
-- did you -- to have a change leadership in the in the state and you've you've got the governor in both houses of legislature on the other side of this right now.
It's it's a big hill to climb there's no doubt about it but -- it was -- that's that labor in this state organized labor and the progressive movement in this state.
-- I have never seen them together as much as they are now our challenge is going to be keep that momentum going.
Keep the pressure on make sure they don't have a moment's peace and stayed together for the next two years tall order but I think we can do it.
Stay together for the next two years and make it count in the general and the primary election of.
Fourteen in Ohio didn't police and fire -- -- help overturned the anti union laws there.
Yes they get yet they did they were they were actively part of -- as a matter of fact it I I've had conversations with the the president of the Michigan player for these union.
And the he has publicly opposed being.
Being carved out.
This particular legislation itself.
But like I say we hold no -- with them.
You know they're there I if they're on the right side of the angels here -- the legislature decided to do whatever they wanted to do.
So so there are.
This anti union fever that they had to Wisconsin which could certainly hurt Hurt -- -- the lawn when nobody was not recalled that her -- -- Ohio.
He what if it's gonna hurt Snyder in Michigan.
I you wonder if labor is really gonna strike back over the next couple years as some of these -- governorships come up for.
I believe I believe it actually -- it was governor -- won his election over some very conservative.
Opponents and -- in this primary election and one of his things he kept telling everybody is is I'm more moderate.
I'm above all this political stuff I mean to -- and it never run for office anywhere in his entire life.
Governor was the first time -- -- run for anything and he he portrayed himself as somebody that's above the fray.
I'm not involved analyst politics stuff I'm not a political animal.
And and I think his votes when you look back over what he's done for over the last two years.
Every single Tea Party piece of legislation that this legislature is given and he signed every single one of -- So I I don't think he can pretend to be a moderate anymore.
The Steve I thank -- we dive into us and educating us a bit about what's going on there in Michigan and why -- I should be upon internationally because.
And other states that like Ohio and like Wisconsin that have had this anti you've union fever going and they we need to focus attention on it thanks so much for your time tonight.
Thank you so much Alan Murray Chris thank you to American.