Michigan Right-to-Work is the Right Investment for Liberty and Prosperity
By Casey Given
Today is a landmark for the future of labor and liberty in the United States. The State of Michigan, birthplace of United Auto Workers and cradle of the American union movement, is on the edge of becoming the twenty-fourth right-to-work state in the country. From the halls of the state Capitol in Lansing, the voice of freedom rang as the Michigan State Legislature gave final approval of the two bills respecting private and public sector workers’ choice to join a union without coercion. The bills are expected to be signed into law by Governor Snyder in the coming hours or day.
As our sister organization, American for Prosperity Foundation, explained in its Need to Know publication on the subject, right-to-work laws are critical to the economic competitiveness of a state. From 2000 to 2010, right-to-work-states experienced private sector job growth, creating 125,000 jobs even after undergoing a severe recession. Non-right-to-work states, by contrast, shed 4 million jobs during the same time frame – a whopping 5.5% decrease in their private sector labor force.
The economic reality is that “union shop” states harm the very workers their laws are intended to help by putting employers at a competitive disadvantage. Through forcing every employee in a unionized workplace to join or pay dues to a union, union shop states give unions an unfair advantage in labor relations by taking money from workers that did not agree to give to mediate costly agreements that they did not agree to make. Such slanted laws harm the economy by increasing employers’ labor expenses through this skewed process and taking money out of workers’ wallets that could have been better spent, saved, or invested in the private sector that fuels the engine of prosperity.
Thus, today’s victory is one for the economic future of Michigan and the country at large. But, more importantly, today’s victory is also one for the moral cause of liberty that so many Americans continue to fight against forces of coercion. Nowhere was this battle better seen today than on the front lawn of the Michigan State Capitol. Around noon, an angry mob of union shop supporters destroyed a tent set up by the Michigan state chapter of Americans for Prosperity. State Director Scott Hagerstrom recalled “Angry, violent union protestors are yelling, screaming, and physically assaulting citizens they disagree with all while chanting ‘this is what democracy looks like.’”
To the contrary, advocates of a true democracy do not silence speech or destroy private property. Advocates of a true democracy respect individual rights, both on the Capitol lawn and in the workplace, allowing employees the choice of whom, if anyone at all, to be represented by at the bargaining table. Fortunately, the majority of citizens and statesmen in Michigan today made it clear that they are, indeed, advocates of true democracy by making the right investment for their state. Let us hope that twenty-six other states will follow suit for the future of liberty and prosperity in America.
Learn more about labor relations with Americans for Prosperity Foundation’s educational Need to Know series: