Saturday, December 8, 2012

How A (Zombie) Bill Becomes A Law in Michigan, Featuring Schoolhouse Rock

Here is what we say happens through the legislative process:

from Schoolhouse Rock, "I'm Just A Bill."

But in Michigan, the Republican leadership in the legislature apparently does not want to follow any regular bill-making process. Instead, in order to avoid committee hearings, discussions, or the required five-day waiting period, for the so-called "right to work" legislation, the Republican leadership did a "full text substitute," replacing some appropriations bill language with entirely different language. I saw someone on facebook calling this a "Zombie Law!" [I like calling the legislation "freedom to freeload" legislation myself, since it basically says you don't have to pay dues to a union that represents you, even though the union is doing the work of negotiating on your behalf.]

I feel that Rep. Dillon's speech gets to the heart of the matter. This is a travesty of the democratic process.

Need a class assignment?
Students: Compare and contrast the process explained in the Schoolhouse Rock video with the process described in Rep. Dillon's speech. 

 Rep. Brandon Dillon, D-Grand Rapids, speaks on the floor of the Michigan House on 12/6/2012.

*Further, because it is tied to an appropriations bill, citizens are barred from pursuing a referendum.


  1. Got this from Facebook:

    The voting record on the Republican side AGAINST Right to Work/Freedom to Freeload. Please thank them.

    On the Senate side, votes against the two "rtw" bills came from all the Democrats plus

    Rocca (R-Sterling Heights)
    Nofs (R-Battle Creek)
    Casperson (R-Escanaba)
    Green (R-Mayville)

    On the House side, votes against the one bill came from all Democrats
    Forlini (R-Harrison Twp)
    Goike (R-Ray Twp)
    Horn (R-Frankenmuth)
    McBroom (R-Vulcan)
    Somerville (R-New Boston)
    and Zorn (R-Ida)

  2. Here is what the current laws say (from the Michigan Lawyers' Guild):

    People appear to be critically uninformed about what RIGHT TO WORK laws actually do, as well as what employee rights and duties are with respect to union membership in the status quo.

    1. RIGHT NOW, IN THE STATUS QUO, you do NOT have to ever join a union as a precondition of employment. closed shops are unlawful. ALL you must do is pay some dues. Your union representation cannot FORCE you to go on
    strike (someone actually said this in a thread-hilarious). You can elect to be a scab any time you want.

    2. With respect to the aforementioned dues: you DO NOT have to pay dues toward anything except the COSTS ASSOCIATED WITH COLLECTIVE BARGAINING. You can get a refund at the end of the fiscal year for any portion of your dues that went to political or social activity (Beck objectors).

    3. What right to work actually does: "Right to work" simply bars unions from mandating that employees in their units pay SOME dues. Right to work allows employees to benefit from the union's leadership and bargaining victories without paying ANY dues, at all. Zip. Zero. Zilch. But you still get all the wages, benefits, and better working conditions that your union bargained for collectively.

    4. For this reason, right to work is better characterized as RIGHT TO FREELOAD. Get all of the benefits of your union workplace, rights that people have fought and died for, for more than 100 years, and conveniently not have to pay a tiny percentage of your wages (e.g. 3%) to ensure that these rights are protected THROUGH COLLECTIVE BARGAINING and contract administration.