Governor Snyder's signing pen can also veto.
Michigan Governor Rick Snyder is meeting this morning with the state's Democratic congressional caucus, as the Democrats try to head off Republicans' seemingly unstoppable push to pass anti-union legislation in the state this week. From the Detroit News:
When asked what he hoped the meeting would accomplish, [Congressman John] Conyers smiled, threw up his hands in a "who knows" gesture and hurried into the meeting.
The Detroit News says Governor Snyder will also have a chat with President Obama on the tarmac in Detroit today. Obama has come out against the anti-union bill.
Before Governor Snyder announced his new support for a so-called Right to Work law last week, the idea of banning union shops was just a gleam in Republican lawmakers' eyes. Now Snyder has joined in calling Right to Work a matter of basic freedom for workers -- though, interestingly, the legislation exempts police and firefighters unions. Republicans say they're fine with leaving those unions strong (and presumably those workers with less freedom) because they're not as active on behalf of Democrats as other unions.
As he has argued for the law he used to insist Michigan did not need, Governor Snyder says the "issue is on the table whether I want it to be there or not." It is true that as Michigan governors go, Snyder has vetoed relatively little legislation. On the other hand, Snyder has shown himself willing to stand in the way of legislation he does not like, even when the bills reflect cherished agenda items for his party. In June, Snyder quietly disappeared a restriction on abortion rights. He also stood up for creating an insurance exchange in his state to comply with health reform. The next month, he vetoed a package of bills designed to make it harder to vote and to register voters, preventing Republicans in Michigan from getting those in place before the 2012 election.
Whether Michigan Democrats and labor activists can remind Governor Snyder that he does have the power of the veto -- and that he will own the Right to Work bill that now threatens to divide the state -- is today's big open question.
UPDATE on the Snyder's meeting with the congressional delegation, from the Detroit News:
"The governor said he would strongly consider our request," Carl Levin said. "We sincerely hope he takes it to heart."
Levin explained that by law no one is required to join a union, but it's an issue of fairness for nonunion members to pay for the benefits that unions negotiate on their behalf.
"Unions must represent everyone in a work place, whether they are members or not," Levin said. "The question is: Does everyone pay their fair share whether or not they are a member of a union?"
Governor Snyder considers the meeting private, so we don't have his side of it yet.