Right to Work mailers flood Plymouth mailboxes
Feb. 2, 2023 PLYMOUTH VOICE.
Plymouth Michigan News
Thousands of post cards are filling mailboxes in our community calling for residents to contact their Lansing lawmakers; the ones who are backed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
They’re the work of a conservative advocacy group, known as Americans for Prosperity, whose goal is to encourage friends and neighbors to engage on key issues. They have state chapters in 35 states, including Michigan, and fund independent expenditures for Republican state-level candidates.
The post cards target a pair of bills introduced last month in the state House that would repeal right to work, the law that lets workers choose whether to join a union. Michigan residents support right to work by a wide margin. A poll this month by a public opinion market research firm, Target Point Consulting, found 58% of respondents favor right to work with 29% opposed – they found even voters who back Whitmer support right to work by 46 to 40 percent.
The following editorial excerpt from the Jan. 13, 2023 edition of the Wall Street Journal highlights the details:
Big Labor Strikes Back in Michigan
Democrats want to repeal the law that gives workers the choice of whether to join a union.
Scratch a “pro-worker” politician and too often you’ll find a staunch opponent of employees’ basic rights. That goes for Michigan Democrats, who are about to use their narrow legislative majorities to coerce tens of thousands of workers back into the union fold.
A pair of bills introduced Thursday in the state House would repeal right to work, the law that lets workers choose whether to join a union. That would end Michigan’s 10-year run as a right-to-work state after Republicans enacted the law in December 2012. State House leaders announced their repeal plan after Democrats won a majority in November, and they’ve pledged to pass it quickly.
The repeal repays Big Labor, as five of the biggest private unions sent more than 95% of their campaign contributions to Democrats, according to Bridge Michigan. Repealing right to work is a union priority because thousands of workers have left their ranks when given the choice. In the decade since Republicans banned compulsory dues, the share of Michiganders in private unions has dropped by a fifth. That’s more than 60,000 workers.
The passage of right to work was a hard-won achievement by state Republicans. Michigan, where the labor movement crested in the 1950s, was still the second most unionized state by 2000. But in 2012 57% of voters rejected a constitutional amendment that would have banned right to work. The GOP passed a right-to-work law a month later, and then-Gov. Rick Snyder signed it.
The cost of repeal will be paid by the whole state because right to work attracts employers. A 2022 study by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy compared county-level job markets in Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin and Ohio. The first three are right-to-work states while Ohio isn’t. The study found that right to work caused a 26% boost in the manufacturing share of employment in Michigan, plus a 30% boost in construction and a 42.5% increase in transportation and warehousing. Employers in these fields set up shop in the places with fewest restrictions on labor.
Michigan residents have noticed the trend, which is why they support right to work by a wide margin. A poll this month by Target Point Consulting found that 58% of respondents favor right to work with 29% opposed. Even voters who back Gov. Gretchen Whitmer support right to work 46% to 40%, which may explain why she has been quiet about her desire to repeal it.
The vote on right to work will test how much unions control Democrats in Lansing. A referendum on abortion rights in November helped drive support for Ms. Whitmer and her allies in the Legislature, and voters gave Democrats unified control of the statehouse for the first time in nearly 40 years. But they have only two-seat majorities in each legislative house, and Democrats in such swing regions as Kent and Macomb counties could be hit by the backlash to right-to-work repeal.
Progressives will consider this gift to unions to be worth the political risk. Mandatory dues from workers forced to join a union will add to union coffers that finance Democrats—whether or not the workers support those candidates. A movement that has to coerce workers to join has no right to claim to speak for workers.