The 2014 '30 Under 30'

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Michigan could become the newest right-to-work state

Michigan has long been a stronghold for American labor unions, but now it is becoming a battleground in the right-to-work movement’s push against compulsory unionization.

Backers of Michigan’s right-to-work bill hope the state will become 24th in the country passing a bill preventing unions firing workers who refuse to contribute to them financially.

“Right-to-work does not affect collective bargaining in any way except to take away unions’ ability to fire workers for not paying them,” Mackinac Center for Public Policy’s Labor Policy Director Vincent Vernuccio said in a statement. “It makes unions accountable to their members. Unions will no longer be able to bolster their political power by taking money from people who don’t support their agenda.”

In 1930, Detroit was home to 1.5 million people and was a major industrial center. However, today the city is bankrupt, it’s population half what it was then and is threatened with dissolution by the state of Michigan largely because unions made it impossible for the Big Three automakers to compete with lower-cost foreign competitors.

Proponents say that Michigan’s union-friendly laws have contributed to the state’s loss of some 7,300 jobs in the past year while its neighbor to the south, right-to-work Indiana, has added 43,300 jobs in the same time period.

“Michigan needs jobs with good, competitive benefits and a salary that can support a family,” Vernuccio said. “Over the last decade, inflation-adjusted compensation in right-to-work states grew nearly 12 percent, compared to just 3 percent in forced unionism states.”

According to the Mackinac Center, right-to-work states saw an 11.3 percent increase in job opportunities for younger workers ages 25-34 between 2000 and 2011. It also suggests that the vast majority of the jobs that have been created during President Obama’s tenure have been in right-to-work states.

Not surprisingly, the unions are fighting back are not about to let Michigan’s right-to-work bill pass.

The Michigan AFL-CIO put out a press release Friday warning that passing a right-to-work law in the state would leave the state’s workers vulnerable to being taken advantage of by employers

“Every working person in Michigan should be concerned about the contents of this ‘right to work’ bill and question how quickly it is moving,” Rick Meeth, a teacher from Bay City, told the Michigan State AFL-CIO. “Whether you are a union member or not, employees in ‘right to work’ states average $1,500 less in wages per year and are less likely to have access to benefits through their job.”

 

Comments

Comments

  1. Rod Snyder says:

    As a newly elected VP of a Union I thought a long time ago, what my Union did for me? What found out and made me active was, they keep my pay inline with the products and services I use. Such as the high cost of electricity and gas that heats my home and fuels my car to go to work. The PSC who is appointed by the governors lets our utility companies raise the rates to some of the highest in the country to allow them to fund their pensions and profits. They don’t stop the gas companies in Lansing whom every state employees pay day they raise the gas prices 20 to 40 cents cause our Attorney General dont keep his promise to prosecute companies who gouge. And keep in mind the group who wrote this Article is funded with with dollars from the Koch brothers and the group ALEC.

  2. ricky baldwin says:

    Actually what right to work usually means is the union is forced to represent nonunion workers without collecting dues from them. The nonunion worker then gets all the raises and other protections of the union’s hard-won contract without contributing to the effort of his or her coworkers. Not only is this unfair, but it also weakens the union’s ability to get better contracts as more workers decide to take a free ride- and ultimately everyone suffers.

    Unions are good for every worker, not just union members and not even just workers at a unionized shop. By raising the expectations of wages and working conditions, unions benefit all workers.

    The claim that unions cost jobs has never been substantiated. In fact the reverse is usually true as unions raise incomes, higher incomes drive increased spending, and this increased demand creates new job opportunities. But even if some anti-union employers do cut jobs, doesn’t that mean is opposition to unions that’s costing jobs, not unions?

    1. Ken Meyer says:

      ricky;

      “Never been substantiated”????? Have you LOOKED at the Detroit example?

      Beyond that, you seem to think that those you want to force into paying union dues WANT the type of “representation” you have to offer. Got news for ya’; they don’t! They’d prefer to make their own choices in terms of who represents them and what they pay for it. They also want a chance at MAINTAINING their jobs in the process….an alternative unions rarely offer them.

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