NASW-MI works continually with a lobbying firm to help keep us up-to-date on legislation that would impact social workers. During this years' three week lame duck session the Michigan Legislature pass nearly 300 bills...you read that correctly, 300 bills!
One of the most contentious bills passed was the "Right to Work" bill, setting up the stage for employees to opt in to union membership instead of dues being required. For me it was interesting to see many conservative Republican legislators suddenly concerned about choice, while at the same time attempting to limit women's health choices and write discrimination into health care and adoption policies (SB0975, HB5763-4). The extreme way (no public hearing, no time given to read the actual wording) this particular legislation was passed drew out nearly 15,000 Michigander to the Capitol last Tuesday for a hail Mary attempt to get Governor Snyder to not sign the bill. In the end Michigan will be the 24th Right to Work state, regardless of what the public think.
Many people may not view the right-to-work bill as a political power grab, but that is exactly what it is. Unions are one of the largest political organizing factions in the United States...and the majority of the time supporting Democratic candidates. Social work has its' roots in the early labor movement and union organizing. and it is important that all social workers remember that and reflect on where we would be without these movements.
In the end I think you will continued to see a max exodus of young professions from the state. Anti-women, anti-lgbt, anti-immigration, and anti-high salary/benefits policies and legislation are not ways to keep Michigan competitive.
-Duane Breijak, LLMSW