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Forum Post: Excellent!

Posted 1 year ago on Dec. 12, 2012, 6:41 a.m. EST by MarkKevin (-46)
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Worker Liberation in Michigan

The Wall Street Journal, Dec 12, 2012

Another state gives individuals the right not to join a union.

The economic policy drift in Washington is antigrowth, but here and there in the states are glimmers of hope and change. The best news of late is in Michigan, which is poised this week to pass a landmark right-to-work law.

You can tell this is a big deal based on the fury of Big Labor's reaction. Union activists plan to descend on Lansing Tuesday to protest, including many from out of state. State police will have to be on duty to ensure that legislators can get through what is likely to be a loud and abusive cordon of activists who want to block the vote.

This thuggishness is a deliberate and familiar union political strategy: Cause as big a ruckus as possible in hopes of making right to work seem radical when it's already the law in nearly half the country.

We hope Republicans and Governor Rick Snyder aren't intimidated, because they have the moral and policy high ground. Union activists want voters to believe that right-to-work laws deny union organizing rights, or ban collective bargaining. President Obama peddled this distortion on Monday in Redford, Michigan, claiming that "what we shouldn't be doing is trying to take away your rights to bargain for better wages and working conditions."

Right to work does no such thing. It empowers individual workers. As allowed under the 1947 Taft-Hartley Act, right to work merely lets individual workers choose for themselves if they want to join a union. The laws prevent closed union shops, which coerce individual workers to join unions and to pay union dues. A teacher who opts out under right to work, for example, could save several hundred dollars in annual union dues that go to political causes he may not even believe in.

Unions loathe right to work because they know that many workers would rather not join a union. Americans have seen what happened to the auto and steel industries, the Post Office and so many others. Unions can extract monopoly wages and benefits for a time from a profitable industry, but often at the cost of making that industry less competitive and eventually at the cost of union jobs. Thus did Teamster work rules—cake and bread had to be delivered in separate trucks—cost the bakery workers their jobs at Hostess. Right to work gives workers a choice.

The Michigan law is a particular breakthrough because it comes in what used to be America's industrial heartland and in a state where 17.5% of workers are still unionized. Nationwide, the share is 11.8%, though only 6.9% in the private economy.

Both houses of the Michigan legislature passed right-to-work bills last week, the House for private workers and the Senate for both private and public workers (save for firemen and police). Mr. Snyder says he'll sign the law once the versions are reconciled.

Because the final right-to-work bill will contain an appropriations rider, under Michigan law unions won't be able to overturn it by referendum, as they did to Ohio's collective-bargaining reforms in 2011. Unions can still try to overturn right to work with a constitutional amendment, but that's a harder slog. The union attempt in November to enshrine collective bargaining in the state constitution, which won only 42% of the vote, broke a longstanding tacit truce in Michigan politics on union rules and prompted Republicans to pass right to work.

Michigan would become the 24th right-to-work state and it could be the best thing to happen to its economy since the internal combustion engine. Michigan still has the nation's sixth highest state jobless rate at 9.1%, and it had one of the lowest rates of personal income growth between 1977 and 2011. A flood of economic evidence shows that right-to-work states have done better at attracting investment and jobs than have more heavily unionized states.

According to the West Michigan Policy Forum, of the 10 states with the highest rate of personal income growth, eight have right-to-work laws. Those numbers are driving a net migration from forced union states: Between 2000 and 2010, five million people moved to right-to-work states from compulsory union states.

Other policies (such as no income tax) play a role in such migration, so economist Richard Vedder tried to sort out the variables. In the 2010 Cato Journal, he wrote that "without exception" he found "a statistically significant positive relationship" between right to work and net migration.

Mr. Vedder also found a 23% higher rate of per capita income growth in right-to-work states. An analysis by the Taxpayers Protection Alliance finds that Michigan is now the 35th state in overall prosperity measured by per capita income. Had Michigan adopted a right-to-work law in 1977, the group estimates, per capita income for a family of four would have been $13,556 higher by 2008.

As impressive as all of this evidence is, the best case for right to work is moral: the right of an individual to choose. Union chiefs want to coerce workers to join and pay dues that they then funnel to politicians who protect union power. Right to work breaks this cycle of government-aided monopoly union power for the larger economic good.

53 Comments

53 Comments


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[-] 7 points by beautifulworld (22295) 1 year ago

This article is a joke. Total lack of understanding of workers' rights, wages and capitalism. "Right to work" laws merely weaken unions which have historically raised the wages of ALL workers, union and non-union. The powers that be don't want Americans to realize this. They want Americans to hate unions. Wake up people. The reason they want you to hate unions is because unions cost ALL employers money. This is because union wages drive the wages of ALL other employees. Break unions equals breaking all American workers.

We really need an education system in this country that fosters critical thinking. Without a general knowledge and understanding among the people of fundamental things such as this we are doomed!!!!!

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (22315) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

Unions go down - Then a Large United Voice That Speaks for The Workers Goes DOWN.

Then all workers are in the same boat = no one to represent them - no strength of united numbers in common cause to look after workers rights.

Then - I do Believe that we will see the dismemberment of pension programs that were instituted decades ago and never properly funded or separated from government or business ( so that funds could not be raided for other use ).

People - PENSION PROGRAMS HAVE LARGELY BEEN A SCAM. YES. A SCAM. Perpetrated by corpoRATions/Business as another way of building up another emergency source of funds - Not For The Employee - NO - for the Business owner (s) - Bankruptcy(?) un-protected retirement program(?) = more funds for the failing Business ( owner ) to use to pay off liability.

[-] 6 points by beautifulworld (22295) 1 year ago

Try to find a job today that offers a defined benefit plan. And, as you say, the plans that do still exist, that haven't been converted to defined compensation plans, are poorly funded. Except of course, for the post office. Congress has brought the post office to its knees forcing it to fund it's pension for 75 years or something ridiculous like that in a blatant attempt to dismantle and privatize it.

[-] 2 points by DKAtoday (22315) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

I think the whole set-up was to provide another cash cow to raid.

[-] 4 points by beautifulworld (22295) 1 year ago

That's right and we should all be scratching our heads when our defined benefit plans are "converted" to defined contribution. i.e, you get lump summed out or cashed out. I always wonder about the formulas and assumptions they used to do so.

[-] 2 points by DKAtoday (22315) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

All of these programs should be tied to inflation - cost of living - contributions and payouts. Fully funded as in what you contribute employer/employee from the 1st day of qualification for the program. These funds should go directly to some sort of savings ( insured ) account and be subject only to pay out at the time an employee leaves the company or to be paid out to former employees if the company fails.

OH - BTW - Very important ( for private programs as SS is something a bit different ) - your retirement program only increases by the amount of interest it earns over time after you have retired - at this point payouts do not increase along with inflation. That phase only concerns contributions going in keeping pace with inflation during your working/contributing years. As your contributions increased while you were working so should the payout amount increase while you are working. After retirement/layoff business failure - what you the individual receives is basically a personal savings account that stands on it's own in the institution that it was deposited - you of course can move this account once you have retired or left that business to where ever you would like to.

[-] 3 points by beautifulworld (22295) 1 year ago

This is very complicated stuff, made more complicated than it needs to be by the powers that be so that they can rip off workers.

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (22315) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

Exactly - it should be a simple thing - of - this is your account and you will receive monthly statements showing your contribution ( if you make a contribution ) your employers contribution the current rate of interest your account is earning and the current total balance of your account.

OH - and this statement should coincide/agree with your payroll receipt as to current contribution to your account.

[-] 3 points by beautifulworld (22295) 1 year ago

Now, now. Don't ask for too much!

The problem really comes in to play when they make these "conversions" from a person once having been promised x amount of money, monthly for life, at age 65 and suddenly they are told that x lump sum payment will cover that. The lump sum payments were calculated with crazy assumptions about life expectancy and interest rates and in most cases people are going to come up short.

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (22315) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

LOL - And - Yes - many programs were set-up as pie in the sky - impossible to guarantee - the math never added up not from the very start.

[-] 0 points by DKAtoday (22315) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

YES - EXACTLY - Why should the workers lose the pension money that is supposed to already have been put aside?

[-] -1 points by shoozTroll (17632) 1 year ago

Because those rich folks wanted it, and they always get what they want.

Psychopaths are like that.

It's why they're busy saying unions are thugs, it's a wonderful diversion from fact.

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (22315) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

Yep - accuse the righteous opposition of your crimes ( the GREEDY's crimes ) - throw mud and see if you can get people to believe it.

[-] -2 points by shoozTroll (17632) 1 year ago

I've been fighting them in here for over a year now, after fighting them in my workplace for over 30.

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (22315) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

I can relate - as I think a majority of people could also relate if they took a moment and really thought about it - and the good news is - that - OWS/OCCUPY and the efforts to educate are making this realization happen for many people - more each day - with growing actions of other groups of people adding to the growing awareness.

[-] -1 points by Theeighthpieceuv8 (-32) from Seven Sisters, Wales 1 year ago

What we really need is an education in employment that includes ten years in non union employment and ten years of union employment. Which is precisely what you appear to lack.

[-] 3 points by beautifulworld (22295) 1 year ago

Threatening isn't it? I have a formal education in this field, but thanks for your advice.

[-] 0 points by Theeighthpieceuv8 (-32) from Seven Sisters, Wales 1 year ago

It doesn't threaten me at all. I think a case can be made for unionization and a case made for de-unionization. In the case of the municipality, collective bargaining will always be available simply because politicians do not have time to negotiate employment terms individually. But precisely because these unions tend to politicize and sell out, municipal employees should have the ability to opt out. State and county should not be closed shop.

[-] 3 points by beautifulworld (22295) 1 year ago

That is silly to say that municipalities can't negotiate terms individually with employees. Makes no sense. I'm not going to argue that unions have let the workers down in many ways, but I think they can be renewed and restructured or workers can find other ways to fight for their rights, which to me are sacred. The worker is the backbone of this country and the world. Work is the sustenance of life, and should be respected.

[-] 0 points by Theeighthpieceuv8 (-32) from Seven Sisters, Wales 1 year ago

It makes tremendous sense; you forget that collective bargaining came to life in civil service law during the early 1970s. It was created by the legislature at the state and county level.

We have many municipalities in this country with ten thousand or more employees. A county exec, for example, could delegate employee evaluations and raises to subordinates - he could manage the wage increases - but each and every one of those raises would require an act of legislation to obtain the funds to actually pay these individuals. A municipality with ten thousand employees, all with an individually negotiated raise, would require ten thousand acts of legislation - it's too resource intensive for the politician and for government.

On both the corporate level and the service industries level, I don't know. I'd rather not even comment on that. Because I know that line of tension is rather taught; if it snaps everyone falls. And there is a lot that has arisen in America that threatens labor and its ability to effectively negotiate.

On the municipal level, it's not uncommon to find employees contributing a hundred a month or more; it's not uncommon for a handful of union reps to be possessed of a million dollar yearly budget which due to by laws they can spend any way they want; it's also not uncommon to have this same union cross party lines to sell out their constituents in the quest for sinecures for themselves, their families, their friends. At contract time, they returns zeros despite contributions. We need the ability to opt out and so does the municipality; it is incongruous, to say the least, to tout one's self as equal opportunity while demanding payment for employment.

[-] 4 points by beautifulworld (22295) 1 year ago

The Wagner Act established unions and collective bargaining in 1935.

You focus on municipalities (which could treat employees like any other business does, individually doling out wages, yes) because many Americans resent the money that municipal workers such as teachers, firefighters and police officers earn because you feel you pay too much in property and local tax. I get that. That is a very popular sentiment. But, trust me, what you don't realize is that if they make less, everyone else will make less, in the private sector as well. Their wages decline, their benefits decline, so does everyone else's.

[-] 0 points by Theeighthpieceuv8 (-32) from Seven Sisters, Wales 1 year ago

Collective bargaining was not adopted by municipalities until civil service law came into being in the 70s. And again I would say to you that the largest unions in Michigan are very likely the municipal unions, by far.

You're right. American labor is under attack in this country and has been for years now. I don't disagree with that and I don't disagree that the loss of both members and dues threatens the union. You're right, I don't disagree with that.

But... there is a dual element here, a flipside. I have faith in the flipside.

[+] -4 points by MarkKevin (-46) 1 year ago

They weaken unions, but strengthen individual choice and liberty. I'll take freedom over unions anyday.

Americans realize this. Just because you don't like something doesn't mean other people don't understand the subject at hand.

Union wages DO NOT drive the wages of all other employees. That's a fallacy.

You want to foster critical thinking, then allow people the FREEDOM to make their own choices, not this collectivist BS.

[-] 3 points by beautifulworld (22295) 1 year ago

Union wages drive the wages of ALL other workers. Unions have weakened over the past 30 years and wages have dropped.

You are one of these people who want something for nothing. You want the power of the union behind you without paying for it. Freedom is not being exploited by employers, my friend. Freedom is not having no vacation time, no sick pay, only temporary and part-time work, no health benefits. Freedom is not half of Americans earning less than $26,000 per year. ECONOMIC SHACKLES ARE NOT FREEDOM!

[+] -4 points by MarkKevin (-46) 1 year ago

If that's the case, then INDIVIDUALS should have no trouble CHOOSING on their own whether to belong to a union or not. What's your beef? You want to twist people's arms and FORCE them to belong? No thanks.

FREEDOM = CHOICE

[-] 4 points by beautifulworld (22295) 1 year ago

No. I want the American worker to be treated fairly!!!! Corporate profits are at an all time high while workers' wages are at an all time low. You think this is some kind of accident?

You live in a plutocracy now, no longer a democracy, you knucklehead. And, people like you are the reason why.

In a capitalist system the employer wields all the power, that is why unions rose up in the first place. Workers garner power against the employer when they work together. Alone, individually, workers are powerless. This is why they want to break the unions!!!!

[+] -6 points by MarkKevin (-46) 1 year ago

It sure isn't a democracy if I'm FORCED to belong to a union.

You worry about yourself and I'll worry about myself. Just stay the hell away from my rights as an individual. Discussion closed.

[-] 4 points by Ache4Change (3316) 1 year ago

'Discussion closed' - because you could not take the heat! You know nothing of 'democracy' and are unfit to use that word, as the only 'freedom' you really desire, is for the corporations to continue to be legally regarded as persons so that they can continue to exploit the american people.

Read & learn - http://www.nationofchange.org/why-billionaire-political-investors-will-keep-pouring-money-politics-until-they-re-stopped-135532290 .

The discussion is only closed when we decide it is so. You gave up - so go occupy that thought now.

[-] 3 points by beautifulworld (22295) 1 year ago

Well said, A4C.

[-] 2 points by Ache4Change (3316) 1 year ago

Thanks for your stalwart defence defence of american workers and their rights. For insights into where the attacks on the 99% are coming from, please also reflect upon - http://www.nationofchange.org/right-s-sham-religion-rugged-individualism-1355328952 . Never Give Up On The Workers! Occupy Solidarity!

[-] 3 points by beautifulworld (22295) 1 year ago

The powers that be use "rugged individualism" to shame the workers and poor into not asking for what is rightfully theirs, fairness! Thanks for that piece and for all you do here, too, A4C.

[-] 3 points by Ache4Change (3316) 1 year ago

It's the ultimate in 'divide & rule'! As we are atomised and alienated from each other - so we are easier to manage and manipulate. If TPTB can instil an ethos of self-regard, self-absorption and selfishness than we become pliant tools for them & complicit in our slavery within their 'pseudo-freedom / actual slavery', paradigms. Thanks for all your good work and ... Never Give Up! Occupy Peace, Justice & Solidarity!

[-] 3 points by beautifulworld (22295) 1 year ago

People have to really grasp that their situation is not due to any lacking on their part, but a total lacking of an economic system that only works for the few at the very top. Occupy a fair economic system!

[-] 4 points by Ache4Change (3316) 1 year ago

The solution lies in our realising that together we are stronger and our common interests are best served by our collective actions. Our faux democracy has been bought up by billionaires and corporations and the politicians and maybe even more shamefully, the SCOTUS have enabled this and sold us out.

Here's another insight into our plight - http://www.nationofchange.org/super-pac-shell-games-highlight-need-new-disclosure-rules-1355398763 . Never Give Up Exposing The Plutocrats and Kleptocrats!

Occupy The Occupiers!

[-] 4 points by beautifulworld (22295) 1 year ago

"When ordinary citizens are required to sign their name and affix their address to donations of a few hundred dollars, it’s absurd to allow multi-million dollar donors to hide behind dummy corporations and innocuously named non-profits." Doesn't that pretty much say it all? And, thanks.

[-] 3 points by Ache4Change (3316) 1 year ago

Yep and some graphics that say even more - http://elections.nytimes.com/2012/campaign-finance?hp&ref=politics&ref=politics - from - http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/03/us/politics/new-super-pacs-add-to-last-minute-rush-of-spending.html?_r=4& . I left the computer on again, lol and duties call now but ... Never Give Up! Occupy The Oligarchy! Solidarity.

[-] 2 points by DKAtoday (22315) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

Good links there was a mad amount of money spent and last minute rush to put out fires ( swing votes ) was pretty insane but predictable in the areas where it was spent. Koch/Alec/CATO/HERITAGE groups pacs and the individual wealthy donors all tell a very interesting story.

But the main thing is - IS - that both parties - both candidates - received a ton of corpoRAT and Wealthy MONEY.

The USA citizens voice was not heard on the air - but fortunately - individuals voted for the best choice available and kept the NO-DOUBT ABOUT IT CorpoRAT Candidate/Puppet/Member out of office - ( this time around ). And the average individual who did vote with their conscience for the best alternative - most of them got good information off of the internet and not from broadcast/cable/satellite services. Thank God for the Internet.


[-] 2 points by Ache4Change (1177) 12 minutes ago

Yes and please see the links above. Never Give Up! Occupy Solidarity! ↥twinkle ↧stinkle permalink

[-] 2 points by DKAtoday (22315) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

Fundamental change for the better ( such as regaining government ) will come through the involvement dedication and actions of = THE PEOPLE.

[-] 3 points by Ache4Change (3316) 1 year ago

Yes and please see the links above. Never Give Up! Occupy Solidarity!

[-] 1 points by shoozTroll (17632) 1 year ago

But freeloading is just fine with you.

Just step on in and demand what others worked and died for.

You are the ultimate freeloader. Brain lazy too.

Conse(R)vative? Or another CATO sympathizer.

[-] 2 points by beautifulworld (22295) 1 year ago

Well said, shooz. :)

[-] 3 points by Buttercup (1067) 1 year ago

Aaaaand, there ya go!! Just another fool who thinks his 'individual' liberty is any match against the macro economic forces that are eroding wages in a race to the bottom of the pay scale. Ultimately, part of the ridiculous effort to 'compete' with the slave wage and the zero regulation 'business friendly' environment in China.

It's possible you're insane. Sociopathic maybe. Get yourself checked. If you do have all your marbles about ya, perhaps it's just simple stupidity.

Or just run along and go shoot your 'individual' self some supper. Maybe in a few thousand more years your brain will grow and you'll become almost human-like. With more fully developed 'social' skills and instincts. Standing upright with your knuckles off the ground even!

Tell me - how does it feel to be hunched over all the time, with your knuckles dragging about the ground like that? That just does not sound good.

[-] 2 points by Ache4Change (3316) 1 year ago

Lol! You reaction is shared and totally justified and here's what corporate shills won't ever talk about - http://www.nationofchange.org/profit-share-hits-record-high-politicians-are-distracted-deficit-dispute-1355324845 - from which - 'If economic debates in the United States were focused on reality, this demand gap would be at the center of the discussion. Instead it is being completely ignored, just as the housing bubble was ignored in the last decade as it grew to ever more dangerous levels. This is not a good story.'

Never Give Up Educating & Explaining - even to shills and knuckle draggers! Occupy Democracy!

[-] 1 points by therising (6643) 1 year ago

You're talking about stealing. Those are the rights of the workers that are part of the BACKBONE of America. See the quote here from Martin Luther King, Jr. here at the following link and please repond with specifics on how MLK is wrong: . http://occupywallst.org/forum/that-michigan-law-that-steals-workers-rightsit-was/

[-] -2 points by nidlaxto (-42) 1 year ago

American freedom = right to work

[-] 2 points by DKAtoday (22315) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

But right to work - should be - about getting offshoring work stopped - it should be about a living wage for all - it should be about creating clean industries/jobs - BUT IT IS NOT.

No - instead it is about employers being made free to shit on their employees and tell em that they have to like it.

[-] 0 points by nidlaxto (-42) 1 year ago

Should be one wage for all, depending on occupation. Also all outsourcing should be stopped. Unions do nothing about the outsourcing

[-] -1 points by shoozTroll (17632) 1 year ago

The right to freeload for less!

R U a freeloader?

[-] -2 points by nidlaxto (-42) 1 year ago

No I am not and I worked in a union shop for 13 years and gave part of my hard worked money to some useless union thug. I am working in a non union shop now and very happy

[-] 0 points by shoozTroll (17632) 1 year ago

Sounds like you're the thug.

So how much is thug work paying these days?

[+] -5 points by nidlaxto (-42) 1 year ago

15.00 per hour but I am doing a lot better than your average union worker that has no idea if he has a job tomorrow. Unions destroyed Detroit .

[-] 0 points by shoozTroll (17632) 1 year ago

That's the OLD BS corporate argument.

Mis-management destroyed the auto makers.

Please take your lies elsewhere.