(DETROIT) -- Before several hundred UAW workers and the Michigan Democratic congressional delegation, President Obama on Monday waded into a brewing fight over pending “right-to-work” legislation that would curb union influence across the state.
“I just got to say this -- what we shouldn't be doing is trying to take away your rights to bargain for better wages and working conditions,” Obama said at an event inside a Detroit Diesel engine plant.
“You know, these so-called right-to-work laws -- they don't have to do with economics. They have everything to do with politics,” he said. “What they're really talking about is giving you the right to work for less money.”
The bill, which could be signed by Michigan Republican Gov. Rick Snyder on Tuesday, would prohibit requiring workers to pay union dues as a condition of employment. Workers would be able to choose whether or not to join the union -- a shift critics say could weaken the leverage unions have with their public/private employers.
Obama defended the importance of unions, drawing boisterous cheers.
"You only have to look to Michigan, where workers were instrumental in reviving the auto industry, to see how unions have helped build not just a stronger middle class but a stronger America,” he said.
“So folks from our state's capital all the way to the nation's capital," Obama continued, "they should be focused on the same thing. They should be working to make sure companies like this manufacturer is able to make more great products.”
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