Obama: Right-to-work laws ‘have everything to do with politics’ [VIDEO]

Nicholas Ballasy Senior Video Reporter
Font Size:

President Barack Obama criticized “right-to-work” laws as politically motivated in a speech at a Daimler plant in Michigan Monday.

“What we shouldn’t be doing is trying to take away your rights to bargain for better wages and working conditions,” he said at the Daimler Detroit Diesel Plant, Redford, Mich.

“These so-called right-to-work laws — they don’t have to do with economics. they have everything to do with politics,” he said. “What they’re really talking about is giving you the right to work for less money.”

Obama continued, “You only have to look to Michigan, where workers were instrumental in reviving the auto industry, to see how unions have helped build not just a stronger middle class but a stronger America.”

His speech comes as the city of Detroit faces a financial crisis. (RELATED: Top Michigan Democrat urges Obama to cut state funding in order to kill right-to-work bill)

Obama also addressed the fiscal cliff, saying he is “willing” to compromise with Republicans “a little bit” to avoid the fiscal cliff but refuses to extend the current tax rates for income over $250,000 per year.

“I understand there’s a — you know, people have a lot of different views. I’m willing to compromise a little bit. But if we’re serious about reducing our deficit, we’ve also got to be serious about investing in the things that help us grow and make the middle class strong, like education and research and development and making sure kids can go to college and rebuilding our roads and our infrastructure,” Obama said.

“We make some tough spending cuts on things that we don’t need, and then we ask the wealthiest Americans to pay a slightly higher tax rate. And that’s a principle I won’t compromise on because I’m not going to have a situation where the wealthiest among us, including folks like me, get to keep all our tax breaks and then we’re asking students to pay higher student loans,” he added.

Obama said “we’re at our best” when everyone who works hard can pay their bills.

“I believe we’re at our best when everybody who works hard has a chance to get ahead, if they can get a job that pays the bills, if they’ve got health care they can count on, if they can retire with dignity and respect — maybe take a vacation once in a while — nothing fancy, you know, just being able to pack up the kids and go someplace and enjoy time with people that you love,” said Obama, who will soon embark on a family vacation to Hawaii which is estimated to cost taxpayers $4 million.

Follow Nicholas on Twitter