UAW Chief: Michigan Law 'Part of a Right-Wing Agenda'

By Susan Jones | December 12, 2012 | 10:29 AM EST

"This right-wing agenda has got to be stopped," says UAW President Bob King. (AP Photo)

( - Bob King, president of the United Auto Workers Union, says Michigan's new right-to-work law is "bad for working families," because it will lower wages and reduce benefits for both union and nonunion workers.

During an appearance on MSNBC, King was asked about the new law's effects on the auto workers' union.

"You know, I'm not worried about the immediate effect on the UAW. I'm worried about the impact on society. This has got to be seen as part of a right-wing agenda. And this lame-duck, they're not only attacking labor, they're attacking women's reproductive rights, they're attacking teachers and schools. They're attacking everything that's good for working families.

"This right-wing agenda has got to be stopped," King continued:

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"Labor, civil rights, faith community, LGBT, environmentalists -- all of us got to come together and stand up for an America that has prosperity for everybody. Not just for CEOs and the greedy few at the top."

The Rev. Jesse Jackson, who appeared on MSNBC with King, called for a worker's strike and a march on Washington:

"I'm convinced workers must fight back in measure," Jackson said. "A major one-day workers strike to make their presence felt maybe. A major march on Washington for jobs and justice. Too much poverty affecting millions of people. Too many unemployed people."

Jackson also mentioned the gap between wealthy people and workers: "Workers have a right to expect liberal wages, health care, education care, the right to vote protected, and educate their children. These rights that are reasonable and should be enforced."

The two Michigan laws would make union membership and payment of dues voluntary for both private and public sector unions. Police and firefighters are exempted, and so are existing union contracts until they expire.

Now that workers won't have to pay union dues as a condition of employment, the law weakens unions by draining their coffers.