Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Right To Work in Michigan

The Michigan Legislature passed the Right to Work Law in the State of Michigan today and Governor Rick Snyder signed it this evening. This makin Michigan the 24th state to be a right to work state.

Michigan is the birthplace of the United Auto Workers and home of the Auto manufacturing in this country making the Right to work law an unexpected event. But it really shouldn’t have come as a surprise. Governor Snyder cautioned the Democrats and the Labor movement earlier this year not to push Proposal 2 which was to add Collective Bargaining as a right in the Michigan Constitution. He warned them it could lead to a push for Right to Work in Michigan. It’s generally thought that Snyder didn’t want to get into this battle and didn’t want to deal with this law, but his hand was forced because the Democrats went ahead with their proposal and lost.

Unions and hard core Democrats have been fighting this law for a long time. They call it the Right to Work for less. Even President Obama was in Michigan yesterday calling for the law not to be passed.

12,000 protestors showed up in Lansing today against the law. The story has led the news locally and become a national story. Many of those were quoted saying that this was all about union busting. Some said that it wasn’t fair that their union dues would go to pay others benefits and of course they have the usual ones saying that wages will drop and Michigan will become like a third world country.

There is a lot of hype, but not much in the way of accurate information. So, let’s take a look at some of this.

Right to work for less. This is one of those word games. Yes, in most of the right to work states, workers do make less than in other states. It costs a small fortune to just exist in New York. The cost of an apartments in New York can be more than owning a house in the Midwest. This is why we use the Cost of Living Index (COLI). Living, eating, sleeping in Alabama is much less expensive than the industrial states.

On the other hand, we can look at the unemployment rate. In Right to work states the unemployment rate is lower than the union states. Not quite a full percentage point, but still lower.

The auto companies are building their plants in right to work states in the south and not in Michigan, which has always been the car making capitol of the world. So what good will it do to have a union if you don’t have a work place to have a union?

It’s unfair to use my union dues to pay for others benefits: The irony in this statement is just too hard to pass up. The other big issue of the day is the “fiscal cliff”.  The President wants everyone above $250,000 income to pay more taxes because they can afford it. The argument is that they should give more to help the country. But what happens with that money that is collected? It’s given to people that won’t work. Yes, the government helps those that are down and out for various reasons, and there are many in that position now due to the governments lack of discipline in managing the nations finances. But money is also given to those that want to be lazy and don’t even try to better themselves. In non right to work states, if you don’t join in the union within a certain time frame, you don’t’ get to keep your job. This is confiscation of union dues. Even if you don’t join the union, you must pay union dues. Still confiscation of union dues. So it’s not unreasonable to consider union dues just like another tax. Where does the union dues go? A tremendous amount of it goes to the Democrat Party. Is it not unfair to apply money that one person pays to a party that they don’t want to help fund?

So I don’t feel sorry for the ones that complain that others are using their money to fund others after years of the others money going for things they wouldn’t support.

This is all about Union Busting!: There is not one word in the law about ending unions. In fact, this is an opportunity for unions to be better than they’ve ever been in history. I expect that the first thing that will happen is that many will drop out of the union as soon as they are allowed to in April of next year in Michigan. Those will be the ones that haven’t wanted to be part of a union in the first place. That’s only natural.

Another thing that will likely happen is that many union members that want to be union members will see that their co-workers that are no longer paying their union dues are still getting the same from unions as they themselves get and they too will drop from the union. Why stay in the union if you can get the same representation and not pay for it?

There will be another group that will see that their union dues is actually another bill or tax and first they’ll ask that their dues not come out of their paychecks. Then they’ll not pay the bill when it comes.

There will be those staunch union members that will always pay their union dues regardless of current events or expenses that they have. They are proud to be in the union and happy to pay.

It these unions are smart, they will act between the first event happening, which they won’t be able to stop and the second event listed which they could stop by changing their ways. I don’t believe the unions are smart. I think they will waste tremendous time and resources fighting the new law in court and not prepare for the future and the opportunities they have with the new law.

They could put together a package of perks for their members. Discount Health Cards. Maybe some competitive college scholarships for children of their members. There’s any number of things they could put together as part of being in the union.

They will also have to change their ways regarding management and discipline of employees that get into trouble. Ironically, today 13 Chrysler workers got their jobs back due to the grievance system with their union. In September of 2010 they were fired after being caught by a local news crew on tape, smoking dope and drinking while on break from their job. It was reported on the news and they were suspended then fired. They filed a grievance through the union and today (of all days) they got their jobs back after two years. An arbitrator found there wasn’t enough proof of what they were doing and ruled in their favor. Chrysler now has 13 more workers that may or may not be drunk or high while building our cars, back on the job. This type of representation has to change if these unions want membership and respect.

It will probably take a vote of the rank and file to bring in new leadership that will work towards these goals to make the unions more palatable to both worker and management.

They have an opportunity to move forward and be better than ever, or they can keep screaming about union busting and crying about workers earning less when they won’t be.

Michigan will start getting more businesses here in the near future due to the Right to Work law and that means more people will have jobs. Unions would be wise to partner up and take advantage of the additional workers and make their existence viable rather than whining and crying about being picked on by the people’s representatives in this state doing the people’s bidding.

I'm going to say one more thing in closing. Protesting. It's a right we have to protest what our leaders are doing. But, we do not have the right to destroy property of the state or other people's property nor to assault other people including the police. Tearing down the oppositions signs while carrying their own signs, is wrong. Each side should be permitted by each other to hold their signs or set up their signs without fear of vandalism. The union people did just that by tearing down the oppositions signs. 

There were arrests today when protesters attacked the police and things got violent. Peaceful protest is fine and I believe should be encouraged. But violent protests are only showing that you believe the other side has no right to their own opinions if they differ from yours. Those violent protesters did absolutely nothing to further their cause with their actions. They only showed how intolerant they are of others opinions. 

Unlike those violent Union protesters you’re welcome to comment.


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