USW Welcomes Repeal of Michigan’s Anti-Worker RTW Laws

Contact: Joe Smydo,, 412-562-2281

The United Steelworkers (USW) today applauded Michigan legislators for repealing the state’s falsely named “right-to-work” (RTW) laws and restoring workers’ power to bargain strong contracts and safe working conditions.

“This victory, correcting a grave injustice to working families, occurred only because union members helped elect Democratic, pro-worker majorities to the House and Senate last fall,” said USW District 1 Director Donnie Blatt, who leads USW members in Michigan and Ohio.

“Corporations and Republicans rammed RTW through the legislature in 2012 to bust unions and silence workers,” he added. “But we refused to be cheated out of our hard-won labor rights. We fought back, and like union members always do, we got the job done.”

States with RTW laws allow workers to receive union services for free. These laws, pushed by corporations and other anti-labor groups, undermine worker solidarity and starve unions of the resources needed to bargain strong contracts, ensure safe working conditions and hold employers accountable.

“It’s all about dividing and conquering,” observed Kent Holsing, president of USW Local 12075 in Midland, Mich., one of thousands of union members who turned out for rallies demanding the repeal of RTW. “It’s an effort to undermine the effectiveness of the union.”

Workers in RTW states make significantly lower wages—and they’re less likely to have employer-provided health insurance—than their counterparts elsewhere. At the same time, they face a higher risk of dying on the job because they lack a strong, unified voice on safety.

“RTW is nothing but an attack on the dignity and lives of working people,” said Blatt. “This victory enables working families to build brighter futures.”

The USW represents 850,000 men and women employed in metals, mining, pulp and paper, rubber, chemicals, glass, auto supply and the energy-producing industries, along with a growing number of workers in public sector and service occupations.

Press Inquiries

Media Contacts

Communications Director:
Jess Kamm at 412-562-6961

USW@WORK (USW magazine)
Editor R.J. Hufnagel

For industry specific inquiries,
Call USW Communications at 412-562-2442

Mailing Address

United Steelworkers
Communications Department
60 Blvd. of the Allies
Pittsburgh, PA 15222