Michigan will become the nation's 24th right-to-work state after Republicans in the state legislature approved historic changes to the state's labor laws over the strenuous objections of Democrats and union members.
The state House, which is controlled by Republicans, voted to bar workplaces from making union membership a condition of employment. Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, a Republican, has said he would sign the law - a symbolically important strike at the organized labor movement in Michigan, a traditional union stronghold.
The House voted 58-41, largely upon party lines, to approve a Senate version of the right-to-work law. The bill will head to Synder for signature.
As state lawmakers debated and voted upon the new law, thousands of union members rallied outside the state capitol in Lansing in an ultimately futile show of opposition to the proposal.
Michigan joins Ohio and Wisconsin - two other industrial Midwestern strongholds governed by Republicans in the statehouse - in advancing laws intended to weaken labor rights over the past two years. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, R, led an effort in 2011 to strip public employees of collective bargaining rights, which prompted massive protests and a legislative standoff. It also prompted an effort to recall Walker, which the governor survived this past June. Ohio's Republican governor, John Kasich, led the effort to pass similar legislation in his state, though it was undone by a subsequent ballot initiative.
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