LANSING, MI –
A Republican-led state House panel approved a package of bills Tuesday that includes tougher penalties for public employees who go on strike or threaten to strike -- and would make it easier for business owners to get an injunction against picketers. As we hear from Michigan Public Radio's Rick Pluta, it would also make it harder for unions to automatically collect dues from their members.
The measures are supported by business groups and opposed bv organized labor. The stage is now set for a partisan fight when the measures come up for votes on the House floor.
Republican state Representative Earl Poleski says his bill to require union members to re-authorize payroll deductions every year empowers employees to hold labor leaders accountable for how their dues are spent.
"I would consider it a pro-employee bill --- pro-consumer," he says.
"It's not at all about protecting union members' rights - they couldn't give a rip about that."
That's Tim Hughes with the United Auto Workers. He says the measure is really meant to undermine labor's ability to organize, and advocate for things like pension rights and better unemployment benefits.