In one week, Michigan Republican primary voters will cast their vote for who they want to see run against President Barack Obama in the general election.
Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum are leading in the primary polls. While the two candidates travel across Michigan pressing the flesh, they are also pushing a controversial measure that would diminish wages and benefits for workers: Right to Work.
Republican Governor Rick Snyder says introducing Right to Work legislation is not good for the state at this time. The governor has called the issue divisive. Despite, the governor’s reserve, the debate has only intensified, especially with Indiana’s passage of Right to Work causing lawmakers in its neighboring state to jump on the bandwagon.
Republicans control Michigan’s House and Senate. In December, Michigan had a 9.3 percent unemployment rate, making it the 11th highest in the nation. Some Republican lawmakers argue that Right to Work would bring more jobs to the state.
Late last week, Romney made some comments about his record on standing up for workers while taking on “union bosses.” It was reported on Friday that Romney visited a non-unionized steel processing center pushing his Right to Work agenda.
Santorum voted against right to work legislation in Pennsylvania because his state was against it. He says he supports right to work and would support a federal Right to Work law. This is what he had to say about employee unions recently. "Unions are one of those mediate institutions that have, over time, served a legitimate function in the private sector," he says. "I don't feel as warm and fuzzy about public sector unions."
Here is the rest of the Republican candidates and where they stand on right to work:
Texas Congressman Ron Paul has criticized Romney for not supporting a national right to work law and Santorum for voting against it in his state when the issue was debated.
Former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Newt Gingrich supports a national Right to Work law and believes the National Labor Relations Board should be defunded.