Michigan Manufacturers Association Says Repeal of Right-to-Work Reverses Progress of Michigan’s Economic Competitiveness

LANSING (Mar. 14, 2023) — Since 1902, the Michigan Manufacturers Association (MMA) has served Michigan manufacturers through legislative advocacy that supports the competitiveness of the manufacturing industry and Michigan economy. Today, the Association stood in opposition to legislation passed by the Michigan Senate that undermines Michigan’s ability to successfully transition its economy at the speed of technological change.

Economic growth requires new private investment from companies pursuing innovative technologies in locations that allow them to compete in the global economy. To compete for future investment with other states and nations, Michigan must create an environment that is attractive for investment. However, the Senate’s action to repeal Michigan’s decade-long Right-to-Work policy will reverse Michigan’s attractiveness for new jobs and economic growth.

Since December 2021, Michigan’s aggressive efforts to draw new transformational investment successfully attracted $17 billion in new private capital investment that will create 15,500 new jobs. Now, eliminating Right-to-Work will undermine future attraction efforts as companies compare other states and nations to make their investments. We will join 22 other states without Right-to-Work that are also losing the competition to bring in new jobs, technology and talented workers. Our aggressive and successful incentive efforts will be neutralized going forward as Michigan moves down the list of states considered for new investment. 

“We stand at a critical time in our state’s history, with the global transition away from gas-powered engines to electric vehicles. This action by the Legislature raises the question of whether the Great Lakes State will retain its manufacturing base into the 21st century,” said MMA Executive Vice President of Government Affairs and Workforce Development Mike Johnston. “Like the turn of the previous century when horseless carriages became the norm, Michigan must be prepared for the inevitable economic transformation. If new technology is not built here in Michigan, the future of our state is in peril.”

Admittedly, many factors contribute to location decisions for new investment. However, examination of the latest investments in electric vehicles reveals that almost all new facilities have located in Right-to-Work states, including Michigan. MMA is deeply concerned about actions taken by the Michigan Legislature that reverse the progress on Michigan’s economic competitiveness and the ability to grow and keep jobs in our state.

“This is a time for policymakers to communicate clearly to manufacturing investors, both existing manufacturing companies and those outside Michigan, that Michigan is open for business and that we have the right skilled workforce to make their investments successful in the face of global competition,” continued Johnston. “Repealing Right-to-Work moves Michigan in the wrong direction.”

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