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Mich. House approves right-to-work limiting unions

Published On: Dec 11 2012 01:24:29 PM EST
Right-to-work protests 6


LANSING, Mich. -

The Republican-led Michigan House has approved a contentious right-to-work bill limiting unions' strength.

The measure approved Tuesday morning deals with public-sector workers. Another bill focusing on the private sector was approved last week, when the Senate OK'd both bills.

When final versions have cleared the House, they'll go to GOP Gov. Rick Snyder for his expected signature as early as Wednesday.

Passage followed numerous challenges and changes sought by Democrats as well as raucous protests inside and outside the Capitol from pro-union demonstrators. Thousands descended upon downtown Lansing to rally against the legislation that prohibits requiring nonunion employees to financially support unions at their workplace.

Backers say a right-to-work law would bring more jobs to Michigan and give workers freedom. Critics say it would drive down wages and benefits.

Meanwhile, a union official vowed to wage ``war'' against those who passed right-to-work legislation in the Michigan state Legislature.

Terry O'Sullivan, who heads the Labor International Union of North America, spoke Tuesday to a rally attended by several thousand union members near the Michigan statehouse. He warned elected officials who support the measure that ``we are going to take you on and take you out.''

Protesters packed the state Capitol in Lansing, chanting and stomping their feet as lawmakers took final votes on right-to-work legislation.

A Republican state lawmaker who supports the legislation says opponents have a right to voice their anger -- but John Proos says the anger will fade as the change in policy brings more jobs to Michigan.