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Canada could be next for right-to-work legislation, opposition parties warn

OTTAWA — The federal opposition parties warn that so-called “right-to-work” legislation that has passed in Michigan could soon come to Canada.

Thousands of people protested today as the first of two laws designed to weaken union power passed in the state’s Republican-dominated House of Representatives.

Opponents of the law, including President Barack Obama, say the law only gives workers the right to work for less pay.

Ottawa-area Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre has already been calling for new rules allowing union members to opt out of paying dues.

The proposal is similar to the legislation adopted in Michigan and 23 other states south of the border.

New Democrat labour critic Alexandre Boulerice says the Michigan law will impact workers in that state first, but will have a ripple effect on other jurisdictions, including Canada.

Interim Liberal leader Bob Rae warns that the Rand formula could be next to come under attack in Canada.

The formula, adopted in the 1940s, makes the payment of trade union dues mandatory in unionized workplaces, regardless of a worker’s union status.

Poilievre has said he’s heard directly from public servants who are not happy with how one of the country’s biggest civil service unions, the Public Service Alliance of Canada, manages its union dues.

 
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