RNs Condemn Proposed Michigan Anti-Worker Legislation
The nation’s largest organization of registered nurses, National Nurses United, today condemned the decision by Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and far right state legislators to push a so-called “right-to-work” bill in the lame duck session of the state legislature.
“In a state that gave birth to the modern U.S. labor movement, it is unconscionable that Michigan legislators would seek to drive down living standards for Michigan workers and families with a law that will do nothing to improve either the state’s economic climate or the quality of life for Michigan residents,” said NNU Executive Director RoseAnn DeMoro.
NNU also condemned the state’s harassment of protesters in the state capitol in Lansing, including locking out protesters to silence dissent, as well as efforts to rush the controversial bills through a lame duck session in an obvious move to limit public scrutiny of legislation that will have long term adverse consequences for Michigan residents.
Patient safety is one of the areas that is particularly at risk when states like Michigan pass laws intended to erode the voice of workers and unions, said DeMoro, praising the effort of the Michigan Nurses Association, an NNU affiliate, to oppose the legislation.
DeMoro cited the statement by MNA activist Cheryl Weston who said this week, “’Right to work’ laws will hurt nurses’ ability to protect our patients by making it harder for us to push back against corporations that only care about their profit margins. ”
DeMoro said it is “abundantly clear” that the Michigan proposal “is part of a national campaign by the most far right, anti-worker, corporate interests in the nation, such as the American Legislative Exchange Council and the Koch brothers, whose only interest is further enriching the wealthiest in our nation at the expense of everyone else.”
“Nationally, the attack on unions over the past four decades has directly contributed to the massive income disparity in the U.S. and the increased concentration of wealth and economic and political power by the 1 percent in our society,” DeMoro noted.
“It is no coincidence that the neo-liberal policies, of which attacks on unions and worker rights is a central feature, are a key reason why the U.S. ranks just 45th in the world in income equality, and has the third highest poverty rate among major industrial nations. ALEC-sponsored bills, like the one proposed in Michigan, will drive us, as a nation, even further down,” she said.
“It is time for everyone in labor, and all in political office and community organizations who are not in thrall to Wall Street or the ALECs of the world, to act together to oppose this bill and similar efforts – and for all of us to make clear that we will hold anyone who supports such legislation to account.”