Melissa Harris-Perry | December 08, 2012
>>> washington's partisan's state mate has left the future of america's middle class hanging in the balance . in michigan , a republican-controlled government has had no problem pushing through a different kind of legislation that is threatening to erode one of the very foundations upon which the american middle class was built. just this week, michigan 's house and senate passed right to work bills that would allow private and public sector workers to opt out of paying union fee ns s in an organized work place. all is left is a signature of governor rick snyder, who has promised to sign the bill officially killing unions once it reaches his desk next week. this is why i am addressing my open letter to him, dear governor rick snyder, i have to tell you that your decision to pass right to work legislation has me feeling a little bit of deja vu . before this sudden change of heart , you previously discouraged your fellow republicans in michigan 's legislature from advancing right to work law. it reminds me of your counterpart in the neighboring start on the other side of lake michigan . scott walker didn't make unions a big issue in his campaign. there he was last year leading the charge to strip wisconsin workers of their collective bargaining rights. what a bit of bait and switch isn't all that the two of you have in common, is it? your push to pass right to work in michigan was launched in partnership with the same guys who bankrolled governor walkers campaign to undermine workers rights , the koch brothers and their group americans for prosperity. they paid big-time into governor walker's campaign. as the saying goes, you have to give the devil his due. you are your own man. still time to make a different decision. this is michigan we are talking about. i know that 23 other states already have passed right to work laws but michigan is the birth place of the organized labor movement. is this the legacy you want to leave for the state that gave us the uaw and helped revive the u.s. auto industry . you said this new law is about freedom in the work place. that is only true if you mean the employers who are free from the checks and balances of the work ter workers they ploy. the freedom to support themselves and their families thanks to fair wages and employer-based health care and retirement benefits or the freedom for workers to have time to spend with their families thanks to the 40-hour workweek and paid holidays and family medical leave . all workers relates that we now take for granted but that we wouldn't have at all if it weren't for unions. that's why you are so off base with your claim that the right to work law would only affect the 17.5% of michigan workers that are still union members, because the rights that unions fight for are ultimately enjoyed by all workers, whether they have ever paid a cent of union dues or not. governor, you and i both know that when you weaken unions, you also weaken those rights like benefits and living wage that have been essential to the survival of the american middle class . you also know that right to work laws dekreecrease union workers. i urge you to not let michigan be among the states to add insult to injury . before you sign that bill next week, think again. sincerely, melissa.