Senator Richardville asked and was granted unanimous consent to make a statement and moved that the statement be printed in the Journal.
The motion prevailed.
Senator Richardville’s statement is as follows:
This amendment, basically, clarifies what the reciprocal agreement is. The definition outlines the criteria that must be met by other states who would like to come and work here in Michigan. It helps to ensure that workers from other states don’t have an unfair advantage over Michigan workers.
I thank you for your patience, once again, and I ask for support of the amendment.
Senators Thomas and Gleason, under their constitutional right of protest (Art. 4, Sec. 18), protested against the passage of Senate Bill No. 142 and moved that the statements they made during the discussion of the bill be printed as their reasons for voting “no.”
The motion prevailed.
Senator Thomas’ statement is as follows:
I rise in opposition to Senate Bill No. 142. The electrical workers profession is a skilled trade represented by a union. Members of this skilled trade go through four years of intensive training; in effect, college training, or they must enter into ten years of practical on-the-job experience. They then go through apprenticeships, and then, ultimately, they are given their card to participate.
You would assume that through such a rigorous standard and having such a very strong apprenticeship program that if there were a problem with electrical workers not finding work in Michigan that their union would be advocating for a strong passage of this bill. In fact, it’s just the opposite. They are opposed to this bill.
This bill, on the surface, sounds good. It is about finding more work for Michigan workers. The problem is that it is correcting a problem of finding additional workers outstate of Michigan. Then it opens the door for outstate electricians to come in and to now poach the available work for Michigan workers. I don’t think that that is appropriate. In fact, most of the states around us in our Midwest region, in our Great Lakes region agree, and they don’t have reciprocal arrangements as well.
So, while it would seem that we are cutting red tape, in fact, we are opening the door for out-of-state workers to come in and take the jobs of Michigan workers. We are not creating an environment for Michigan workers to gain employment here in the state of Michigan. We are, in fact, opening the door for them to leave the state of Michigan.
I don’t think that this is what this Legislature wants to be about. Clearly, we talk all the time about finding ways to create jobs in Michigan. Well, this bill, I believe, takes away the jobs of Michigan electricians and electrical workers. It is a shortsighted fix to a small problem that exists with one Michigan company. I think that this is not the way to go.
I would ask that my colleagues reject this bill.
Senator Gleason’s statement is as follows:
Across this nation, we have organizations called International Unions and International Brotherhoods. They have been occurring in this nation since the days of the birth of this country itself. We already have a process in place that was implemented and utilized nearly every single day.
I work side by side with many of these electricians. As the previous speaker has mentioned, we have the highest trade and the greatest reputation for the skills of our workers here in Michigan. That is why I give pause to this legislation saying that we may lose some of this. We are in troubled times now. We are asking for even more money because of the loss of jobs here in the state of Michigan.
Further, we have an opportunity now that we are asking those who have lost their jobs in the automobile industries to pick up some of the opportunities in the skilled trades across this state. Within the last week, we have heard the announcement of thousands of jobs being lost in our state. It is the skilled tradesmen who are working in our factories, but yet, now we are saying that we will open the doors for those who have lost jobs to be replaced by those from another state.
So I would recommend that we utilize the process that is already being well utilized, that there is no shortage of opportunities anywhere in America for those who belong to the organization in this state. Today we have many members, journeymen, who are working in multiple states because of the opportunities that are afforded there.
We should keep our folks home. We should never offer an opportunity—as slight as it might be—to lose jobs to other states. So I say we oppose this opportunity on this legislation and say that we going to put Michigan workers first; those who have gotten notified in the last ten days that they are going to lose their skilled trades job; there are many factories across the state that we don’t allow them to lose their opportunities to someone from Ohio or Illinois or Indiana.
Mostly importantly, we should vote “no,” as I stated earlier, because we already have a process in place. The electrical workers have a communication with other organizations in all fifty states. So let’s utilize them and not give our Michigan workers another chance to lose an employment opportunity.