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Obama Right-To-Work: President Comes Out Against New Legislation In Michigan

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OBAMA RIGHT TO WORK
President Barack Obama gestures as he speaks to the media during a visit with high school English teacher Tiffany Santana, left, and others, Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012, in Falls Church, Va., to discuss the importance of extending income tax cuts and small businesses. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) | AP

WASHINGTON -- The Obama administration, in a statement Thursday afternoon, came out against proposed "right-to-work" legislation being pushed by Republicans in Michigan including Gov. Rick Snyder (R).

"President Obama has long opposed so-called ‘right to work’ laws and he continues to oppose them now," said White House spokesperson Matt Lehrich. "The President believes our economy is stronger when workers get good wages and good benefits, and he opposes attempts to roll back their rights. Michigan – and its workers' role in the revival of the US automobile industry – is a prime example of how unions have helped build a strong middle class and a strong American economy."

This isn't the first time the president has had to weigh into the state politics surrounding collective bargaining and labor law. He also spoke out against efforts by Gov. Scott Walker (R) to take away collective bargaining rights in Wisconsin.

Still, the statement is a welcome sign for labor activists, who are trying to turn national attention on to what's happening in Michigan, as the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday:

Michigan's governor and top legislative leaders declared their joint support on Thursday for right-to-work legislation that would ban contracts requiring all employees to pay union dues.

Bills are expected to be introduced Thursday in the Michigan Senate and House with supporters predicting swift passage in a lame-duck legislative session by the end of the year. The GOP has a majority in both chambers.

Hundreds of opponents gathered at the state Capitol in Lansing in protest. It was expected to be the beginning of a fierce fight between labor and business interests over the future of union rights in the birthplace of the powerful United Auto Workers union.

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