Michigan became the 24th state to adopt a "right to work" law—the controversial provision that prohibits unions from forcing workers to join and pay dues.
But while the issue is politically charged—protesters marched in the capital of Lansing during Tuesday's voting—Michigan's move is partly a matter of economic survival, some analysts say.
(Read More: Amid Protests, Michigan House Approves 'Right-to-Work' Bill )
"Michigan is making this move because it saw Indiana do it," said Robert Sikkel, a labor expert in Grand Rapids, Mich. "They're afraid businesses may move to Indiana. Other states are going to look at this too to see if it's best for them."
Though right to work laws have been around since the 1947 Taft-Hartley Act, the movement has been growing since Wisconsin fought a similar battle with unions over two years ago. (Read More:Key Facts in Michigan's Fight Over Labor Laws)
"More and more states are looking to improve their economies and become more attractive to businesses and this is seen as one step toward that," Sikkel said.
In essence, right-to-work laws prohibit mandatory union membership and initiation fees while allowing non-union employees to receive the same wages and benefits. Pro-labor forces say the laws are aimed at stopping union membership and keeping wages low.
"We've been fighting this issue for decades and when there's an opportunity for it like in Michigan, business groups and anti-labor try to bring it about," said Chris Rhomberg associate professor of Sociology at Fordham University. "It's definitely aimed to stop unions."