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For decades, unions have been protecting and representing many workers in Michigan, giving them a fair shot against corporate bargaining interests. Recently, however, so-called “right-to-work” proposals have been catching on under Republican Governor Rick Snyder’s administration. “Right-to-work” laws, which should really be called “anti-union” laws, would prohibit employers and unions from requiring a worker to join a union and make collection of dues much more difficult. As a result, unions would lose much, maybe all, of their bargaining power.

If you look past the rhetoric, is becomes clear that anti-union legislation has very little correlation with job availability. Nevada, Florida, Georgia, and both Carolinas have unemployment rates over 10% (the national average is 9.1%), and all are so-called “right-to-work” states. With an overcrowded labor pool and no collective bargaining power, each individual employee is on his or her own against the employer – often a large corporation. As we have seen in Wisconsin and elsewhere, union-busting can have dire consequences for ordinary workers.

Labor and union members who wanted a change from term-limited Governor Granholm’s policies in 2008 may be second-guessing themselves now. Big business is on the verge of getting the upper hand, with no guarantee of a better job climate. As 2012 comes around, employees in all sectors should seriously consider the long-term impact these pro-corporate measures would have.

One Comment

  1. Gravatar for Freeborn Man

    The issue is not economics - it is personal freedom. I firmly support the right for people to organize and join unions. I also firmly support the right of people NOT to join unions (political parties, religious organizations or whatever)

    Whenever you start requiring membership in organizations as a pre-requisite for the basic processes of living, you are entering dangerous territory - the realm of Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union in requiring party membership in order to obtain work or have a shot at advancement. I'm not comparing labor unions to totalitarian organizations, but I'm pretty sure they would like to have that degree of control when it comes to the workplace

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