President Barack Obama weighed in on Michigan’s escalating labor battle Monday, slamming misleadingly named “right to work” laws as being designed for “giving you the right to work for less money.”
During a speech at the Daimler Detroit Diesel Plant in Redford, Michigan, the president attacked Michigan’s new anti-union bill, which Republican governor Rick Snyder plans to sign on Tuesday. “What we shouldn’t be doing is trying to take away your rights to bargain for better wages and working conditions,” Obama said to loud applause from the crowd.
“These so-called right-to-work laws don’t have anything to do with economics,” the president added. “They have to do with politics. What they are really doing is giving you the right to work for less money.”
Obama also praised Daimler for “creating 115 good, new union jobs” at the Diesel Plant. Video of his comments is below, via the Washington Examiner:
Obama’s remarks were a clear attempt to ramp up pressure on Snyder to change course and veto the bill, postpone it until the next legislative session to allow further debate, or subject it to a referendum to let voters decide for themselves. Michigan’s top Democrats met with Snyder earlier on Monday, with the same goal of pressuring the first-term governor.
During his speech, President Obama also reiterated his desire to make a deal to avoid the so-called “fiscal cliff,” declaring that he is ready to work with Republicans on a budget plan that could include “tough spending cuts” — but reiterating that he “won’t compromise” on raising tax rates for the wealthiest Americans.
The president’s comments come a day after Obama and House Speaker John Boehner’s first one-on-one meeting since July, 2011. Although neither side commented on the meeting, spokesmen for the White House and Speaker Boehner released identical statements saying that “the lines of communication remain open.”
The speech also marks the latest in a series of campaign-style events for the president. Between this speech, a similar event at a Pennsylvania toy factory, a web ad highlighting his campaign promises, and the reactivation of Obama for America’s “call tool,” it’s clear that just because the president won re-election doesn’t mean that we’ve seen the last of his campaign.