Republicans have long dreamed of making the union bastion of Michigan a right-to-work state. Now, it's within their grasp.
The State House and Senate approved similar bills Thursday that would prohibit making payment to unions a condition of employment. Final action was postponed until next Tuesday. Gov. Rick Snyder says he will sign them into law.
Outnumbered Democrats staged walkouts and angrily denounced the bills, while throngs of chanting union activists packed the Capitol building. Police used pepper spray to stop one group from rushing the Senate chamber and temporarily sealed off the building until a judge ordered it reopened.
Snyder previously had resisted right-to-work legislation but told reporters its time has come. Republicans denied opponents' claims it would weaken unions, saying it would make them more responsive to members.