Broken Promise on Right-to-work Further Erodes People’s Trust in Our Government

With confidence in our politicians near an all-time low in the United States, it is essential for all elected officials, both Republican and Democrat, to uphold the integrity of their offices and work to regain the people’s trust. Our system of democracy depends on it.

Unfortunately, Gov. Whitmer eroded that trust by signing legislation to repeal our state’s right-to-work law. But the governor’s misstep doesn’t involve the RTW policy itself, although it is certainly misguided. The erosion of trust involves a little-known tactic that was used to subvert the people’s involvement in their own government.

Some background: An errant funding allocation was added to the RTW repeal bill, which was a calculated decision to effectively block a state voter referendum on the RTW repeal. In other words, the people of Michigan were denied their constitutionally protected right to get their voices heard.

So why was the governor’s signature especially appalling? In 2019, Gov. Whitmer promised to veto any policy bill that included this type of appropriation. In fact, the issue was so important to the governor that she issued a public executive directive to “veto legislation that circumvents the right to a referendum.”

But the governor, with no explanation in her veto letter, signed the RTW repeal anyway. At the very least, the people deserve a thorough explanation from the governor.

Although the right to a voter referendum has been taken away, it’s important to note there is still an opportunity for recourse. People who support worker freedom and economic development could still challenge the RTW repeal law, but it will now take a constitutional amendment, which means twice as many petition signatures will be needed to get the vote on the ballot.

This underhanded tactic not only denies people a right that is enshrined in our state constitution, it further erodes the foundation of our system of government. We have always believed that citizens have an absolute right-to-work in Michigan. And they also have an undeniable right to have elected officials who work in their best interests.

We will hold the Legislature and governor accountable for any decline in business development opportunities that cease coming to Michigan because of this repeal. See our recent efforts to defend worker freedom.