Detroit — President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans on Tuesday announced a plan to gut collective bargaining rights for 1.2 million workers.
The Trump administration has been hammering the workers’ unions for years, accusing them of waging a “race to the bottom” and saying that the labor laws they passed are not working for workers.
But the new effort to slash labor protections would be the first major piece of the president’s legislative agenda to pass in the state since he took office, even if it comes after months of stalled talks with the unions.
The plan would take effect immediately, while Congress would have to act to block the measures.
The legislation also calls for cuts to unemployment benefits and tax breaks for businesses that hire or fire workers.
Trump signed a budget proposal that includes a proposal to eliminate unemployment benefits for people who were laid off from a state-owned coal mine and a $1.3 trillion increase in the minimum wage.
But Congress would need to act within 30 days to stop that proposal, and the GOP’s efforts are unlikely to gain much traction.
Trump’s administration has sought to portray the measures as part of a larger effort to end a national trend that has seen more Americans losing their jobs and wages as the country has struggled with stagnant wages and rising health care costs.
Democrats, however, say that the proposals will help employers avoid having to pay workers more.
“This is the president and Republicans trying to do everything they can to drive down wages and benefits,” Michigan House Minority Leader Mike Turzai, a Democrat, said Tuesday.
Trump has pushed for sweeping changes to union rules to reduce pay and the number of union workers in industries such as construction and health care, but he has said he does not support making the union a union itself.
Trump and Republican lawmakers also proposed a plan that would roll back a rule that gave states greater leeway in deciding whether to expand Medicaid to cover those with incomes below 138 percent of the federal poverty level.
Trump had previously called for a single-payer health care system.
The Republican plan would allow states to set their own premiums, deductibles and co-pays and the federal government would cover most of the costs.
But Republican leaders in Congress have said that would not be possible under the proposal, which they say is part of an effort to “subsidize” the employers.