Right-to-Work Town Hall Roundup: Week Four
Welcome to week four of the Right-to-Work Town Hall Tour!
AFP-Michigan stopped in Auburn on March 26th this week.
Panelists provided information from three points of view:
- Right-to-Work and the individual union member,
- Public policy and legal impacts, and
- RTW and Economic Freedom.
Following their individual presentations, the panelist engaged in open dialogue with attendees to answer questions and clear up common misconceptions about new RTW law.
Terry Bowman, a current UAW member of 16 years and Founder of Union Conservatives, discussed the two main myths surrounding RTW.
“So called ‘free-riders’ are actually forced-riders,” stated Bowman, pointing to the fact that unions negotiate contracts with exclusive representation clauses that require all workers to be represented by one union.
Regarding the myth of “Right-to-Work for less,” Bowman stated that the anti-RTW studies don’t take into account “cost-of-living” calculations. The cost of goods across the country is not the same. For example, it is much more expensive to rent an apartment in New York City than it is to rent a comparable apartment in Dexter. Discounting cost-of-living is, according to Bowman, deceitful.
Vincent Vernuccio, the Director of Labor Policy at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, discussed the status of the current RTW law, legal challenges and economic benefits.
Vernuccio posed this question to the audience: Do you think RTW passing is the end of the RTW story?
“Absolutely not” was Vernuccio’s answer. Unions will likely take their issue to the voters again, just like they did with Proposal 2 in November. Prop 2 was defeated by over 15 points on election day.
And is RTW the single issue to revitalize Michigan’s economy?
“Right-to-Work is just one piece of a larger ‘Economic Freedom’ pie,” said Greg George, the Government Affairs Associate at AFP-Michigan. He emphasized that RTW is an indicator to constituents that lawmakers are serious about promoting a healthy state economy. Passage of RTW shows that lawmakers are concerned about voluntary exchange and freedom of association.
“Historically, we see that voluntary exchange and association have brought about an increased quality of life,” stated George.
Because workers have the option stop paying dues, workplace freedom keeps unions accountable to workers’ interests. Right-to-Work gives workers a voice regarding how they are represented.