For immediate release
March 24, 2023
Michigan-based UNITE HERE Local 24 President Nia Winston on Michigan’s repeal of “right-to-work”
It’s official: Michigan Democrats kept their promise to the working-class. Now that Governor Gretchen Whitmer has officially signed it into law, “right-to-work” is repealed in the state of Michigan.
This is exactly what we want to see from our elected officials in Lansing: an aggressive, unapologetically pro-worker agenda that puts the power back in the hands of the people. We have been building towards this moment for over a decade. When working-class people dedicate hours of their lives to help elect Democrats, we expect to see those politicians in office address their most urgent needs. In this moment amid a post-pandemic recovery where workplace exploitation is surging as high as the cost to survive in America, exposed workers urgently need unions.
Republicans are afraid of workers having more power. That’s why over ten years ago, they shoved “right-to-work” down our throats. To them, union growth and increased density is a dangerous, scary thing. But to us, we know that collective power uplifts all of us and our communities. I think about my own experience of finding the Union back in 2000, when the casino I worked at first opened in Detroit. It was through the organizing drive that led to thousands of jobs downtown becoming strong jobs that can sustain a family comfortably that I saw just how important a union contract is in creating transformational change, almost immediately.
Over a century ago, we saw the birth of the American Labor Movement lead to a revolution in the auto industry, turning dreadful, dangerous jobs into a pathway to the middle class and the American Dream. Today, UNITE HERE recommits itself to transforming the hospitality industry in the same way. We can make this disproportionately non-union industry one where workers can earn wages that sustain a living and benefits that can sustain a life.
With more workers from across all industries turning to their coworkers and taking action against unfair treatment and poor wages and benefits, this repeal could not have come at a better moment. I have never been prouder to be a Michigander — and look forward to seeing the Michigan “trifecta” continue to lead the nation on enacting progressive policies long overdue in our Great Lakes State.