Michigan’s adoption of right-to-work reforms could have a domino effect in the heavily unionized Rust Belt, according to political observers across the region.

Republican Gov. Rick Snyder had said passing right-to-work legislation, which prohibits forcing employees to join unions as a condition of employment, was not a major part of his agenda when he ran for Michigan governor in 2010. But the state’s dire economic condition—850,000 jobs left the state between 2001 and 2010—along with Indiana’s move to become the Rust Belt’s first right-to-work state drove the Republican governor to push labor reforms through the legislature on Tuesday.

Indiana state Rep. Jerry Torr (R., Carmel), who began pushing for right-to-work in Indiana in 2003, said the reforms helped the state gain an advantage over its neighbors and predicted other states would follow suit.

“It was important for us to be the first state in the Midwest because I assumed that it would have a domino effect, lead our neighbors to come around to passing it,” he said. “What I didn’t expect was for Michigan to be the first one to follow and I didn’t think it would happen this fast.”

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