U.S. Rep. Sander Levin (D-MI) today made the below statement after the Michigan House approved right-to-work legislation. In 1965, Rep. Levin authored the nation's first comprehensive public employment labor relations bill as Chairman of the Michigan State Senate Labor Committee. That bill was crafted and passed on an overwhelmingly bipartisan basis and signed into law by Gov. George Romney. INFORMATION FROM 1965 VOTES BELOW.
"Before Governor Snyder and Republican legislators totally unravel the fabric of labor relations in Michigan on a path of blind partisanship, they should realize that the structure of collective bargaining for the private and public sector was crafted and passed into law on an overwhelmingly bipartisan basis," said Rep. Levin. "Our State faces many economic challenges. Management and Labor have developed increasingly a cooperative, instead of very adversarial approach, pulling together to meet the challenges. If the Republican leadership continues this plunge into deep divisiveness, it will lead increasingly to Michigan divided, not Michigan united. They must turn back."
Congressman Levin was the primary author of Michigan HB 2953, which amended the Public Employment Relations Act, and HB 2954, which amended Public Act 176 of 1939, which dealt with private sector management-labor relations.
The legislation in 1965 was put together on a collaborative basis with the active participation of Governor George Romney and his Administration and approved on a nearly unanimous vote as follows:
The Public Employment Relations Act was amended to provide full collective bargaining rights to public employees, by a vote of 34 to 1 in the State Senate and 90-6 in the State House.
A comprehensive bill on collective bargaining rights for private sector employees was passed in the State Senate by a vote of 35-2 and in the State House by a vote of 93-0.
Among the Republicans who supported both efforts were future Congressman Guy Vander Jagt and future State Senate Majority Leader Emil Lockwood.
Governor George Romney signed both bills into law in July 1965.