Democrats Are In Full-Scale Panic About Michigan Right To Work Law

The level of panic is evident in the headlines…

“Right to work” push guarantees all out war in Michigan [Washington Post]

Obama slams Michigan bill as ‘right to work for less money’ [MSNBC]

Michigan schools close so teachers can protest right to work law… [Drudge]

If President Obama and the unions are against this bill, then you’ll probably want to hear the other side of the argument. Mackinac Center for Public Policy released their analysis of the Michigan right-to-work bill, that indicates that it would do the following:

  • Right-to-work means that unions can’t require an employee be fired for declining to pay union dues or agency fees, while maintaining a union’s ability to collectively bargain.
  • Right-to-work offers in-state opportunities for young workers. Between 2000 and 2011, right-to-work states have seen an increase of 11.3 percent in the number of residents between the ages of 25-34, according to the Bureau of the Census. Non-right-to-work states, over that same period of time, have seen an increase of only 0.6 percent.
  • Right-to-work means increasing wages. Private-sector, inflation-adjusted employee compensation in right-to-work states has grown by 12.0 percent between 2001-2011, according to data taken from the Bureau of Economic Analysis and Bureau of Labor Statistics. That compares with just 3.0 percent over the same period in forced-unionization states.
  • Right-to-work means low unemployment. Between 1999 and 2009, non-farm private-sector employment grew 3.7 percent in right-to-work states, but decreased 2.8 percent in non-right-to-work states. Further, the vast majority of jobs created during the Obama administration have been in states with a right-to-work law. According to the National Institute for Labor Relations Research, right-to-work states (excluding Indiana, which passed a right-to-work law in early 2012) “were responsible for 72 percent of all net household job growth across the U.S. from June 2009 through September 2012.”
  • Right-to-work makes states more attractive for business. States with right-to-work laws dominate the “Top States for Business,” as determined by CNBC. For 2012, nine out of the top 10 best states for business are right-to-work states. By contrast, Michigan is currently 33.

Something that might benefit Michigan resident, as opposed to union bosses, explains why the bought-and paid-for Democrats are so up in arms.

Image via National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation

Shortlink:

Posted by on December 11, 2012.
Filed under Economics, Liberals, Unions.
Doug Johnson is a news junkie and long time blog reader, turned author.

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  • EricSteel

    “Right to Work” = Choice = Worker’s Employment Freedom. In Non-right to work states “union shops” REQUIRE a worker to join a union under force of law. The employee is not given any choice in the matter. Right to Work laws take away that requirement. Unions still exist in Right To Work States and employers are still forbidden from firing employees who unionize.

    • jim_m

      The left is all in favor of people having “choice”… as long as the people choose what the left wants. When people don’t “choose” the right thing the left is all about coercion.

      • LiberalNightmare

        In this case it seems to about collection. As in dues collection.

    • Carl

      It’s called “a contract” and the contract between unions and employers dictates whether or not an employee has to join a union or not.

      Not all union shops require that every worker join the union. It can vary from contract to contract.

      • jim_m

        Carl, in many states the law says that if there is a union you must belong to it. It has nothing to do with the union contract with the employer. Conversely, in right to work states the laws have been written to say that a worker cannot be forced to join the union. A union contract cannot be written to force all employees to join the union.

        Unions live on the forced membership of the workers. It only takes a majority vote to put the union in so a large number of employees who didn’t want to join the union end up paying forced dues. When Indiana passed the law that union dues would not be withheld automatically from state employee paychecks union dues payment dropped 65%.

        • Carl

          No, that’s a lie. No states have laws requiring you to join a union. You only have to join if it’s a requirement of the contract signed by the company. You know when you are offered a job if it’s aunion job or not, and if you don’t want a union job you just don’t accept the offer.

          Quit bullshitting.

          Republican pushing these laws hate the fact that employers have to pay union employees equally, regardless of whether they are male or female, black or white.

          In non-union shops women are paid less than men, on average. In union shops women make equal wages.

          Teabillies like Jim-M hate that – they despise the fact that employers are required to pay equal wages under union rules. They want to bring back slavery – and work on the weekends and child labor.

      • EricSteel

        Carl, in a sense you are right that it is a contract between the union and the employer, but under the Taft-Hartley Act of 1947, unions can require that employers terminate an employee if that employee does not join the union or pay union dues.
        The point of Right to Work Laws are that Unions cannot force employers into that agreement. An employee does not have to join the union or pay union dues.
        Look at it this way. Hypothetically, you are a trained engineer of widgets. Every company that makes widgets has as a condition of employment that you must join the Sarah Palin fan club and pay annual dues to the Sarah Palin fan club. You have no option. If you want to work there, you have to join and pay dues, otherwise you will be terminated. Is that fair?

        • Carl

          ” unions can require that employers terminate an employee if that employee does not join the union or pay union dues.”

          IF the employer has that clause in their contract and IF the employee accepts a job requiring union membership then tries to get out of joining then YES, employees have to join the union.

          They knew that when they accepted the job.

          • jim_m

            FALSE.

            In a non-right to work state Union Shop workplaces require employees to join the union after an certain time period. Under the Union Shop rule, employees can be fired for failing to pay membership dues;

            That’s labor law, not just the union contract. At least that is what the federal government says about union states. But then, what would they know about labor law?

            Once more Carl spouts ignorance and fails to supply links to back his BS up because he can’t.

          • Carl

            It’s only necessary if the contract requires it. Not all contracts require that, some have right to work clauses in non right to work states.

            And its not a “state law” as you have continually repeated that lie, Jim.

            Your ignorance is showing. You linked to a article that proves my point.

            No state has a law requiring you to join a union unless the company has a contract with jurisdiction that covers your job, in which case the employer. Closed Shop and Union Shops exist by virtue of a signed contract. In no case whatsoever is there union jurisdiction over a job UNLESS the employer has signed a contract agreeing to that.

            Equal pay for women and minorities really makes jim upset. he’s besides him, busily lying — just totally angered at the notion that equal pay for equal work includes anyone other than white men.

          • EricSteel

            Carl,
            What you fail to understand is that employers are forced into that agreement and contract requirement. Employees may be forced into the union by the very nature that there is no alternative. That’s why a LAW must be passed to remove that requirement. Without the Right to Work law, the unions create a monopoly in an industry.

            For example, if you are a trained electrician and EVERY employer has been forced into being a union shop then you do not have a choice, you do not have an alternative. You must join the union.

            The unions get all of their money from union dues. In union shop states, unions can force employers into being union shops forcing employees into the union and forcing them into paying union dues.

            The reason the Democratic Party opposes Right to Work is that it removes the forced union membership/dues requirement. Unions will lose money and Unions are by far the Democrat’s largest campaign contributor.

            The Democrats are in the back pocket of big labor, and mermidons like Carl listen to their masters in the Democrat Party and tow the party line without any thought.

          • EricSteel

            Carl,
            What you fail to understand is that employers are forced into that agreement and contract requirement. Employees may be forced into the union by the very nature that there is no alternative. That’s why a LAW must be passed to remove that requirement. Without the Right to Work law, the unions create a monopoly in an industry.

            For example, if you are a trained electrician and EVERY employer has been forced into being a union shop then you do not have a choice, you do not have an alternative. You must join the union.

            The unions get all of their money from union dues. In union shop states, unions can force employers into being union shops forcing employees into the union and forcing them into paying union dues.

            The reason the Democratic Party opposes Right to Work is that it removes the forced union membership/dues requirement. Unions will lose money and Unions are by far the Democrat’s largest campaign contributor.

            The Democrats are in the back pocket of big labor, and mermidons like Carl listen to their masters in the Democrat Party and tow the party line without any thought.

      • retired.military

        Contracts?? That is those things that people sign like the investors in GM who got screwed by Obama during the bankruptcy right? Isnt that the thing that people sign when they say they are going to buy a home with a variable rate and then the left screams when their payments go up and they get evicted. Contracts. Isnt that what the unions sign and then go on strike when they want higher pay and better benefits.

        • Carl

          All unions have to have a contract with the employer that spells out whats been agreed upon by both parties – the union and the employer.

      • retired.military

        Also some states require people who arent part of a union to pay union dues anyway due to the type of work they are in.

        • Carl

          States dont’ require that – the union contract signed and agreed to by the employer dictates that.

  • herddog505

    Why on earth should a worker have to pay somebody else for the priviledge of having his job???

    • Carl

      Unions negotiate wages and working conditions. Union employees are usually much better off than non-union employees in the same industry.

      The amount you pay in dues for higher wages and better working conditions is small. Dues typically run 1-3%, whereas wages for union employees typically run 10% or higher than non-union wages.

      • Vagabond661

        Sometimes the high wages and benefits can destroy a whole town. Ask Detroit.

      • LiberalNightmare

        Usually.
        Typically.

        These sound like the words people use when they arent confident about their facts. Do you have sources?

      • LiberalNightmare

        Usually.
        Typically.

        These sound like the words people use when they arent confident about their facts. Do you have sources?

      • 914

        That’s 1-3% more then I desire to give away..

      • http://www.outsidethebeltway.com rodney dill

        …and the Cost of Living Index generally runs 10% or more higher in non-right-to-work states.

      • retired.military

        Dont forget that the bottom end of union wages are based on the minimum wage. Why do you think the dems want the min wage raised. Union wages go up and so do the unions donations to the dem politicians.
        Union negotiation tactics – picket lines which terrorize folks, lawsuits, intimidate businesses, stall work progress, walkouts, dem politicians investigating business, govt seizing raw products of business to help competitors who do use union labor.

      • herddog505

        My father worked in a unionized (airline) shop. He didn’t think so.

  • http://www.outsidethebeltway.com rodney dill

    While the ‘Mackinac Center for Public Policy’ is self billed as being non-partisan, it is also being slammed by the MEA as being a ‘conservative’ think tank. Doesn’t mean anything you’ve outlined above is necessarily wrong. On the third bullet it would be interesting to know whether the wages are increasing faster because they are behind ‘union’ states, or are the wages in right-to-work states surpassing the others. (in total not just the rate of increase).

    I think switching to right-to-work will have far less impact than either side is claiming. Michigan is already about 80% non-union.

    • http://www.outsidethebeltway.com rodney dill

      After some googling, I found this paper from a Michigan Business school student. (Senior thesis). It does seem to favor right to work, but has some summarization of other studies that are both pro and con right to work. It’s fairly extension, and I haven’t finished going through it yet.

      http://right-to-work-laws.johnwcooper.com/

      (forgot the link the first time around)

  • stan25

    Forced union membership is legal slavery. How else could the DemocRATs and the union bosses get any funding.

    • Carl

      Hahahaha. An employee who is offered a job knows that its a union job and that membership is required, if that’s the case.

      If they knowing and willingly accepts a union position then they are choosing to be a union employee. Calling that “slavery” is hyperbolic bullshit.

      • 914

        They are working for the employee not the union fool..

      • LiberalNightmare

        What union do you belong to Carl?

        Surely a person that supports forced union membership as much as you do is actually a member of a union. Anything else would be hyperbolic bullshit.

        • jim_m

          Carl is seen here protesting in Madison, WI. (Hint: Carl is not a police officer)

      • retired.military

        Hmm what about people who are in minimum wage jobs. Dont they agree to work for minimum wage? Then why are folks like OWS taking to the streets. You know sorta like the contracts that people sign for education loans and the OWS crowd riots to try to get student loans wiped out.

  • http://www.rustedsky.net JLawson

    7% of Detroit public school kids are reading at grade level.

    http://cnsnews.com/news/article/only-7-detroit-public-school-8th-graders-proficient-reading

    26,000 teachers are out sick in Michigan.

    http://www.michigancapitolconfidential.com/18046

    Just remember – the teacher’s unions are always ‘for the children’. In this case – it may well help them to have the teachers out – because it sure doesn’t seem like the kids are being well-served when they’re in the classrooms.

    You know, come to think of it – maybe the thing to do is have payments to the parents for good grades. If payments for illiteracy result in the parents discouraging the kids from reading, then …

    Education’s the only key to escaping the life that lies ahead for them.

  • http://www.outsidethebeltway.com rodney dill

    From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Right-to-work_law

    The United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2011 Occupational Employment and Wages Estimates,[26] shows median hourly wages of all 22 Right to Work States (RTW) and all 28 Collective-Bargaining States (CBS) as follows:

    (paraphrased due to table)

    Median wages All occupations $15.31/hour – Right to Work states
    Median wages Alll occupations $16.89/hour – collective bargaining states

    CBS third-quarter 2011 COLI (cost-of-living index) 117.03

    RTW third-quarter 2011 COLI 94.46 (-19.3%)

    The above data does not factor in the COLI for each state. According to the Council for Community and Economic Research the cost of living index for California in 2009 was 132% of the national average while Texas was 90.2%. This pattern holds true between the right-to-work states in the South and Midwest and the non-right-to-work states in the higher cost regions. Adjusting pay for these regional cost differences results in higher real buying power in most of the right-to-work states.[27][28]

    With COLI factored in Right to Work states people have higher real buying power in most cases.

    (Note: wage to wage comparison is only one factor to consider)

    • retired.military

      Dont forget to take the union dues out of the pay for the union workers. THe dem politicians have to get their cut.

  • JWH

    I am not sure where I sit on this. I see both sides. On the one hand, “union shops” that effectively require everyone to join the union as a condition of employment seem contrary to the spirit of freedom of association and antitrust precepts. (I.e., if one should avoid combinations by businesses to stifle competition, then one should avoid such combinations by labor). On the other hand, free riders can be something of an issue. If the union negotiates a sweet deal with the employer, an employee receives the same wages/benefits but who fails to pay dues is essentially benefiting from somebody else’s negotiating prowess, but is not paying for it.

    On a personal note, I’m also ambivalent about unions. I’ve been in situations where employers treated me badly and I wished there was a union in place to represent my interests. I’ve also been in situations where I have benefited because my employer did not have to hew to a union-set payscale. Sometimes both have happened at the same employer.

    • herddog505

      I tend to agree. Employees ought to have the right to combine to negotiate with their employer for better wages, working conditions, etc. without having to worry about The Boss hiring a bunch of thugs to breaks their skulls. On the other hand, a system that FORCES workers to join an organization that they don’t want to join, that uses the power of the government to take part of their wages to (perhaps) pay for activities that they don’t support, is odious.

    • http://www.outsidethebeltway.com rodney dill

      I don’t understand all the down votes on your comment. Its perfectly valid to comprehend both sides. I can see both the problems unions cause, and the value they have provided workers over the years. I’m not in a union, and not generally pro-union, but I wouldn’t say I’m anti-union either. At this point I’m glad Snyder’s plans are going through. Something positive needs to be done with the economy in Michigan, and this move is likely to generate more jobs coming into the state.

  • jim_m

    “This is just the first round of a battle that’s going to divide this state. We’re going to have a civil war,” – James Hoffa

    We can expect more of this in the future. There is no length the unions will not go to keep their corrupt payola coming. They may not actually get the civil war they want but they are certainly going to try.

  • ackwired

    This issue is anti-liberty either way. The unions are required to represent non-members in right-to-work states. The employees can be required to join the union in non-right-to-work states. The solution is to give the unions the liberty to not represent nor bargain for non-members and give the employees the liberty to join or not join the union. It seems to me a little more freedom would go a long way toward settling the issue.

    • jim_m

      Ackwired, Federal labor law allows the creation of union contracts where only the union members are represented by the unions and non-union members are not granted the benefits under the contract. This has always been the case. The complaint form unions that non-members are freeloaders is pure BS.

      The Supreme Court has ruled repeatedly on this point. As Justice William Brennan wrote in Retail Clerks v. Lion Dry Goods, the Act’s coverage “is not limited to labor organizations which are entitled to recognition as exclusive bargaining agents of employees … ‘Members only’ contracts have long been recognized.”

      However, there still remains the possibility that the employer grants similar rights to non-members anyway. That does not make them freeloaders. Non-members would never get the same union job protection and grievance system.

      • ackwired

        Interesting. It has been a few years since I was negotiating with unions. But they always quoted NRLA:

        Sec. 9 [§ 159.] (a) [Exclusive representatives;
        employees' adjustment of grievances directly with employer]
        Representatives designated or selected for the purposes of collective
        bargaining by the majority of the employees in a unit appropriate for
        such purposes, shall be the exclusive representatives of all the
        employees in such unit for the purposes of collective bargaining in
        respect to rates of pay, wages, hours of employment, or other conditions
        of employment:

        Your quote suggests that the union relationship does not have to be as “Exclusive Representatives”. To my knowledge the vast majority are Exclusive Representatives per the NRLA. Are you aware of any significant exceptions?

        • jim_m

          None of that excludes that employees may be non-union members. Only one union can be the representative for collective bargaining. Non-union employees do not collectively bargain.

          • ackwired

            I thought that “Exclusive Representative” was a technical term and that Sec 9 (paragraph 159) required “Exclusive Representatives” to represent all employees. I thought that you were citing a ruling that unions did not have to be “Exclusive Representatives”. I thought I asked if you knew of any examples of unions not being “Exclusive Representatives”

            I don’t understand your answer.

  • davidt

    Through the Michigan Legislature the People of Michigan have collectively bargained for a Right-to-Work law.

    Surprise, surprise, unions don’t like it.

  • Gmacr1

    And today, they proved once and for all, how the TEA Party was full of violent extremists with those video’s they took outside the State House of those evil froth mouthed raving loons beating people. Oh, what? Those were union people doing that? Pffft, I’m sure the MSM will be right on it.

  • Paul Hooson

    The beauty of Detroit is the level of upward mobility once brought to workers in the early days of the auto industry. In the early days of Ford, Henry Ford urged poor Blacks to move from the South to settle in Detroit, where he educated them in schools he established and moved them into the emerging middle class by giving them good jobs working at Ford. Right-To-Work legislation in Michigan is only a sign of this dream dying, America’s middle class eroding, and wages falling. Workers in Right-To-Work states do the same amount of work as workers in other states, but are paid much less for their work, and also have less disposable income to be active consumers in the marketplace. This should run contrary to the dreams of any parent, to see their children take jobs at lower wages than themselves. No parent should want their children to have less opportunity than their own generation.

    • jim_m

      You have no clue on how Detroit long ago failed to achieve anyone’s dream. It is a burnt out slum. Nearly all of it. The city council is epic in its corruption and in its racist antipathy to anyone who is not black.

      People are talking about turning Detroit back into farmland because so much of it has been abandoned.

      What has destroyed the middle class American dream has been the greedy unions whose toxic work rules destroyed productivity and whose bloated contracts killed off one automaker after the other. Now few cars are made in Detroit compared to years past and any new plants are built in right to work states.

      As Rodney has pointed out, cost of living is lower in right to work states. Lower wages are a function of cost of living and not unionism. Unions are doing a far better job of killing jobs and creating poverty than they are in creating affluence.

    • http://www.rustedsky.net JLawson

      Detroit did it to itself, starting a good 30-40 years back. No “Right To Work” legislation caused them to build lousy cars and dilute their desirability, or forced them to refrain from innovating while Japanese cars were getting better and better.

      Now I’ve got a Honda CR-V with 10 years and 140k miles on it. and it’s running so well I think I can get another 10 years out of it with minimal maintenance. Where’s the American built car that can do that? (Had a Saturn, got 10 years and 160k out of it, but that brand is quite dead.)

      Detroit cut its own throat, with a belief that everything would always stay the same no matter how little effort they put into it. That the money would keep coming in, that if you spent 40 years on an assembly line turning bolts you’d get a hefty pension afterward.

      And that’s what happened – until it suddenly didn’t.

      “No parent should want their children to have less opportunity than their own generation.”

      Don’t even get me started on that. The Democrats and their toady Unions have done a damn good job of killing the American dream, in their efforts to stifle innovation and entrepreneurship so THEY can keep their status quo and not allow others in.

      Tell ya what – why don’t you just think about what the state of computing would be like at this point if Government had the keys to the innovation machine, and decided all the specs for everything from system board bus signals to processor speed to motherboard formats to hard drive and video tech, and did the same for the Internet? Oh, let’s be nice and let AT&T, Bell Labs and Western Electric (Anyone else remember that branch?) work to get things out.

      You think we’d have what we’ve got today? Megabit fiber? Smartphones? HDTV? LCD screens? I’d be surprised if we were at 28.8kb modems at this point – and cable modems would be another decade or more off.

      Why is it you’re assuming that if unions and Democrats had control, things would be wonderful? Don’t you ever read stock or mutual fund prospectus sheets? Does the phrase “Past performance doesn’t guarantee future results” sound at all familiar?

      The unions were necessary back in the day. But, like passenger rail, their day is long past, and the future will not belong to them unless it’s an incredibly dismal and hopeless future indeed.

      • jim_m

        Funny that you had a Saturn that was a quality car, seeing as the reason the brand is dead is because the UAW targeted the brand for destruction. Unions are what killed Detroit and it is pretty difficult to blame anything else to the same degree.

        • http://www.rustedsky.net JLawson

          The Saturn line was a decided experiment as far as auto manufacturing goes – and it worked, at least at first. I can look at their original SL line and go “You know, that still looks pretty sharp.” But they started making their cars look like all the rest of GM’s small car line, used the same chassis and engine, and they ended up being little more than your standard aerodynamically efficient econobox.

          And that didn’t sell. We looked at getting one of their SUV/Minivan VUEs, but the thing looked cheap, felt cheap, and cost way too much.

          They lost the concept of value and style they started out with.

          I was sad to see them go – but the way they’d been going it was almost a kindness to put down the brand.

      • jim_m

        think about what the state of computing would be like at this point if Government had the keys to the innovation machine,

        We’d all still be running Microsoft Bob. That is assuming that we ever got past the 286 CPU (or even that far).

        • http://www.rustedsky.net JLawson

          Think DOS, and MAYBE a 286. A GUI? No, not yet.

          Honestly, I think what really pushed the development of the PC was the gaming community. You don’t need color or fast CPU speeds for spreadsheets and word processing documents, after all…

          Think of it – all those companies innovating their hearts out and bringing products to market without government control of their every move. What a nightmare! LOL.

          And what happened when they brought something that didn’t act well with other software or hardware? The product either failed to gather market share (through reviews and word of mouth) or they adapted to market (through new drivers and patches and the like…) Much, much faster than any governmental process could ever have managed…

          • jim_m

            I remember a resident whining about the pathology department spending money on new computers for the admin staff saying, “there’s no reason to give these people 286 computers. They can do everything they need to with an 8088.”

            When the user doesn’t drive the need then nothing advances.

          • http://www.rustedsky.net JLawson

            Pretty much… And when government’s in charge of the ‘need’, then you’re not going to see much change.

    • RichFader

      Detroit was non-union in the early days. Henry Ford I in particular hated unions like God hates sin. Ford was the last Big Three firm to go union, didn’t go until ’41, and it was a famously ugly process (Battle of the Overpass, anyone?). It’s an interesting fact that Ford is also the only Big Three firm that hasn’t gone bankrupt or had a shotgun marriage to the government to avoid bankruptcy. I won’t say coincidence, because I don’t think it is.

  • blogagog

    Why is Wisconsin shown as a forced union state? Didn’t they just fix that last year?

    • http://www.outsidethebeltway.com rodney dill

      Based on their teacher protests, they fixed it in the public sector. I’m not sure about the private.