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The silent treatment: Nobody's talking about right-to-work in this election

Oct 22, 2014

  It’s been nearly two years since a lame-duck Legislature made Michigan the 24th right-to-work state. In response, 12,000 furious protesters flocked to the state Capitol, vowing Republicans would pay dearly at the next elections.

Nolan Finley, editorial page editor of the Detroit News, and Michigan Radio political analyst Jack Lessenberry joined Stateside to talk about the impact of right-to-work on the upcoming elections.

Dec. 11th, 2012 Right to Work protest in Lansing, MI.
Credit Matt Radick / Flickr

Finley says no Democratic candidates are talking about the right-to-work issue in their campaigns.

He also says the UAW hasn't turned it into a major point, but has used it to quietly to rally members.

Lessenberry says there are two main reasons why right-to-work hasn’t become a big issue in the elections. He says even if Mark Schauer were to win, he wouldn’t be able to change right-to-work because of the expected Republican majority in the Senate and House.

Lessenberry also says that any negative impacts from the law aren’t visible and if any do occur, it will take a long time before they become apparent.

Finley agrees. "It’s not a winning issue,” he says.

Lessenberry says that there are other pressing matters than right-to-work in the governor's race, including the pension tax, which Lessenberry believes has politically hurt Gov. Snyder more than right-to-work.

He believes Gov. Snyder has lost voters and that he won’t receive the 58% of votes he did in the last election.

*Listen to Nolan Finley and Jack Lessenberry discuss right-to-work and the upcoming elections above.