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Rep. Pat Somerville: 'Right-to-Work is Not A Collective Bargaining Issue'

The right-to-work bill passed 58-52 in the House, and 22-16 in the Senate after a call to action from the governor on Thursday.

"Often times people try to tie right-to-work to collective bargaining," State Rep. Pat Somerville said Friday. "This has nothing to do with collective bargaining."

Somerville, who represents the 23rd District, said right-to-work legislation would prevent "freeloaders," which are union workers who benefit from collective bargaining, but do not pay union dues, according to Somerville.

"If you allow someone to not pay dues they will then be benefiting for something they did not pay for," Somerville said.

The right-to-work bill prohibits unions from collecting fees from nonunion workers, which opponents say would weaken organized labor’s ability to bargain for good wages while supporters say it would boost jobs.

Although this legislation would cover both the public and private sectors, there would be an exception for police and firefighters.

The bill passed 58-52 in the House, and 22-16 in the Senate after a call to action from the governor on Thursday. Somerville said he voted against the bill.

"They (Republicans), honestly, believe it will create a better environment for Michigan businesses," Somerville said. "It's tough to say if this is true because I've seen some good and I've seen some bad."

The 23rd District includes Brownstown Township, Gibraltar, Grosse Ile, Huron Township, Trenton and Woodhaven.

Find out what a local union president said about right-to-work.

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Nate Stemen December 07, 2012 at 10:21 PM
What are your thoughts on Rep. Pat Somerville's statement on right-to-work legislation? -- NS
Steven Rzeppa December 08, 2012 at 12:38 AM
This statement doesn't make sense at all. Right to work legislation allows people to opt to not join a union when a union is in place, thus they WOULD benefit from the unions negotiations over wages and benefits without paying dues. It almost encourages freeloaders and most certainly does not prevent them.
Dean Massalsky December 08, 2012 at 07:06 AM
He can spin this anyway he wants, and include a picture of him being friendly with two nice people, but make no mistake, this man, was a part of a lousy event. Enjoy your time in the capital, as I predict all of you who voted for this will be gone next time around. Is this bill the end of the world? No, but it is a kick in the crotch to ANY union, and enables abusive work environments. It is not in he interest of. majority of Michigan workers. And the way the capital handled it was reprehensible. The reasonable thing to do would have been to stop, let everyone calm down. Instead, you shut down the tv's, locked the doors, had people arrested and called out an army of police, and did your " public service". The nation is watching Michigan, again, for the wrong reasons, again. And how many man hours of police pay did you burn doing this? When there is another murder of a child in Detroit, don't tell me there was no money for police. Shame on you.
Larry Lewis December 08, 2012 at 06:05 PM
I'm disappointed, Steve is correct this bill wll discourage individuals from joining unions. All of us benefit from union contracts rather you work in a union shop or not. Unions have gotten us public education, passed child labor laws; health care and pension benifits; job safety, on & on. This is a real setback in human rights for the average michigan citizen.

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