PHOENIX, December 11, 2012 ― Michigan is poised to become the 24th state to pass a ‘right to work’ bill that will strip big-labor unions of the ability to force workers to join the union or pay union dues. Gov. Rick Snyder has signaled that he will sign the bill coming out of the Michigan legislature this week.
Michigan’s move to become a right to work state could virtually dwarf the successful Republican-led effort in Wisconsin to deny public sector unions collective bargaining rights. Michigan is home to one of the biggest liberal labor unions in America, the United Auto Workers union (UAW). Detroit has been ground zero for any labor-led campaign, and passing the right to work law will be a huge blow to the unions.
The UAW also has close ties to the AFL-CIO, another liberal worker’s union, and they donated heavily to President Obama’s 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns with union dues. Workers who supported Republican candidates in 2012 were forced to help fund Obama’s campaign, all due to Michigan not having right to work status.
It’s no secret that when the unions and President Obama claim that right to work bills will force lower wages, they’re clearly trying to protect the steady cash flow big-labor unions have been enjoying for years. Democrats have yet to provide significant evidence that right to work laws are economically damaging.
As in Wisconsin, Michigan Democrats are likely going to launch a recall effort against Gov. Rick Snyder and state Republican representatives. They failed in Wisconsin and the collective bargaining law still stands there. If Michigan citizens feel Gov. Snyder’s right to work move is righteous, the potential recall will fail.
For all that, Democrats are hypocrits when it comes to right to work legislation. The Democratic Party has never been more adamant than this past election cycle in supporting choice when it comes to subjects like abortion or marriage. But when it hurts their political ambitions, they reject any effort to give more choice to Americans, specifically when it comes to right to work laws.
Laws that require workers to join unions if they want a job are the epitome of big government collusion with private (corporate) interests. Powerful interests have total control over the individual, the government or union making your choices for you.
Liberals once stood for individual freedom. They worried about the oppressive power of the state and corporations, solidly against fascism, which binds corporate (including union) interests to the state. Now liberal ideologues oppose right to work legislation. They prefer to force middle-class workers into unions that never truly fight for worker rights. Modern liberals hate losing control over anything they can get their hands on, and right to work strips them of a basic power, the power to dictate the conditions for getting work.
When labor unions were first conceived in America, their idea was great. (We of course overlook the fact that union organizer and AFL founder Samuel Gompers was a racist, and a hundred years ago unions were used to force blacks out of relatively well-paying jobs like railroad porter. The idea of the union was great, not necessarily the implementation.) Who wouldn’t want to improve compensation and treatment of workers so that the work environment would be welcoming and safe?
Unions now have an agenda that isn’t just “fair” wages and “decent” working conditions in exchange for an “honest” day’s labor. They are political organizations, spending union dues on liberal causes and liberal Democratic campaigns across the country without any input from the workers who are forced to join. They don’t represent workers any more than the Soviet Politburo represented the Soviet proletariat.
Democrats claim that right to work states produce poor living conditions and dismal job growth; new data suggest otherwise. According to a study authored by Stan Greer for the National Institute for Labor Relations Research, “Right to Work states (excluding Indiana) were responsible for 72% of all net household job growth across the U.S. from June 2009 through September 2012.”
The West Michigan Policy Forum found that of the ten states with the highest rate of personal income growth, eight have right to work laws. They even found that between 2000 and 2010, five million people moved to right-to-work states from states that did not have right to work laws.
Overall, the Forum finds that states with right to work laws have a 23 percent higher rate of per capita income growth than the states that do not have such laws.
Michigan is making the right step in passing a right to work law and the Republican legislators there must stand united against the impending union opposition.
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