Right now, workers in Michigan cannot be forced to fund unions against their will, but if Michigan Democrats get their way, that’ll change.
The Democratic-controlled Michigan state legislature is advancing legislation that would repeal the state’s “right to work” legislation. On Thursday, the bill repealing “right to work” passed through the state House and now it heads to the Senate for a vote. If it passes there, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer is almost certainly going to sign it into law.
In a bizarre twist, Whitmer lauded the House for putting “Michigan workers first” and making sure that “working people should always have basic freedoms in the workplace without interference from the government.”
But Whitmer’s statements describe the opposite of what’s happening. Right to work is fundamentally a workers’ rights law. It ensures that unions cannot force workers to fund them and must actually provide value and be in alignment with workers values to attract their support. Getting rid of right to work will once again allow unions to strike deals that force workers to pay them dues as a condition of their employment.
So, if you support “working people’s freedom,” you’d want to keep right to work on the books. As I previously explained, it’s a violation of that freedom to force people to fund unions against their will:
“It’s flatly immoral to force workers to join or finance a union if they don’t want to. Unions take positions people might not agree with and are very often openly partisan and political, explicitly fighting for Democrats and progressive policies. In recent memory, unions have lobbied for everything from school lockdowns to universal government healthcare to the erosion of independent contracting.
Suffice it to say not everyone’s on board with all that. Americans have a right to our beliefs, and that includes a right to associate with those we agree with — and disassociate from those with whom we disagree. Michigan Democrats are assaulting that fundamental right.”
There’s also a strong economic case for right to work. As I’ve previously summarized, “A comprehensive analysis from NERA Economic Consulting found that, all else equal, states with right-to-work laws are more likely to attract businesses and have better employment rates than states without them. While critics often argue right-to-work laws reduce wages, this analysis says the weight of evidence does not support that claim.”
Michigan Democrats are running against the wishes of their constituents with this move. Poll after poll after poll shows that a majority of Michiganders support right to work and only a small minority support its repeal.
If they go through with this, Whitmer and her allies will be putting the interests of union bullies over the rights of working people and the values of Michigan residents.