By on December 6, 2012

This is going to be interesting: Michigan lawmakers are expected to introduce right-to-work legislation today,  Michigan’s Republican Governor Rick Snyder is for it, the UAW, headquartered in Detroit, Michigan is fiercely against it.

Hundreds of unionized workers converged on the state capital of Lansing today to voice (loudly) their opposition against the law. Reuters already talks about a repeat of Wisconsin where a similar law in 2011 “sparked massive protests and unsuccessful efforts to recall Republican Governor Scott Walker.”

Michigan had the fifth highest percentage of workers in the country who are union members in 2011, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

 

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102 Comments on “Soon, The UAW Might Call A Right To Work State Home...”


  • avatar
    Hank

    I’m not inherently anti-union. I do believe, however, that every state ought to be a Right to Work state. The same liberty that allows one to join a union without fear of reprisal should allow one to eschew it just the same.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Well put.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      Thank you for having a great post be the first one. Sadly the anti-union death to unions crowd will be here in 3, 2, 1…

      As for me, I kind of like the 40 hour work week, vacation, sick pay, and the fact that 10 year olds are prevented from working. But it seems others have forgotten some of the perks unions have given to all of us. I too long for the days of eight year olds being ripped to pieces in textile machines, matchstick girls, with rotting faces from the sulfur, and mass casualty factory fires because even the most basic of safety standards weren’t adhered to. Fire exits?!?!? Whoa buddy, keeps those locked because we don’t want a worker taking a break.

      • 0 avatar
        moedaman

        “I too long for the days of eight year olds being ripped to pieces in textile machines, matchstick girls, with rotting faces from the sulfur, and mass casualty factory fires because even the most basic of safety standards weren’t adhered to.”

        Child labor laws were inacted long before unions became powerful enough to be effective. And many of the things unions fought for are now the law of the land. Everything outlives it’s purpose. The main thing unions do now is to supply money to political campaigns.

      • 0 avatar
        PintoFan

        “Child labor laws were inacted long before unions became powerful enough to be effective.”

        The Fair Labor Standards Act wasn’t passed until 1938, and that was largely at the behest of organized labor. Most of the rest of American worker protection laws are the result of lobbying by organized labor. To say that labor unions have “outlived their usefulness” is absurd when an organized effort to destroy labor standards is in effect all across the country. Trusting management to guard the health and welfare of workers is the same as asking the fox to guard the henhouse. Government isn’t really any better, as Rick Snyder now shows us. I wonder how much Koch, Scaife, and Adelson money flowed into his campaign coffers.

      • 0 avatar
        CoastieLenn

        I’m pretty sure that OSHA has more to do with your entire arguement than any union does. Maybe back in the Industrial Revolution era was this the case, but (like a typical union worker) your arguement for thier existance is negated by today’s governmental oversight.

        I’m not one of those “anti-union” people either. I worked for Coca-Cola in New Windsor, NY. I elected to quit because the union not only forced me to pay my dues and be a member when my merits as an employee and my on-the-job performance would have sufficed to keep me employed… but seeing so many EXTREMELY overpaid EXTREMELY lazy workers in the warehouse protected by the unions was killing me and my morale.

        Unions served a purpose… now- not so much.

      • 0 avatar
        PintoFan

        OSHA didn’t come into existence until 1970, once again largely because of the lobbying of organized labor and the nascent environmental movement. Why don’t you ask some Southern textile workers dying of byssinosis what they think about management and government’s concern for them? The Lord helps those that help themselves. Government can change on a whim; the economy can’t function without labor.

        You might have been content to be a management toady, but some of us are wiser. If they can make someone else do your job for less, you’ll be out on your rear end tomorrow. Management doesn’t care about anything but the bottom line, because that’s their job.

      • 0 avatar
        CoastieLenn

        PintoFan- about OSHA’s appearance in the 1970′s… I know. See my NEXT sentance about “Maybe in the Industrial Revolution era was this the case.”.

      • 0 avatar
        PintoFan

        OSHA didn’t magically make workplace abuses disappear. To say that it did is to deny the very real existence of dangerous working conditions all throughout America, right now. Government is not a panacea. Consciousness is the next best thing to a universal solution.

      • 0 avatar
        car_guy2010

        That’s not true about unions only existing to funnel money to politicians. There are plenty of smaller unions with little or no political influence that serve their members very well.

        If you’re going to argue against something, please do us a favor and leave the falsehoods at the door.

      • 0 avatar
        Fenian

        What is interesting is that a lot of people/politicians that are anti-union are also in favor of less regulations. That doesn’t stop many of those people from pointing to current regulations as a reason for unions not to exist anymore.

      • 0 avatar
        TW4

        First, right-to-work doesn’t outlaw unions. You can continue fantasizing about the old days when unions openly discriminated against women (in certain industries) and minorities, while forcing the middle class to join unions as a precondition of employment.

        Second, 8-year-olds have been safe for nearly a century, and most American employees have unemployment insurance, pension insurance, retirement health insurance, disability insurance, safety laws (OSHA), etc through federal and state government. Even if citizens wanted to drop out of government insurance for privately administered union plans, they couldn’t. Thanks for that, btw.

        Unions have milked the industrial revolution marketing campaign for long enough. The ‘work’ is done. Innovate or fade away.

      • 0 avatar

        ApaGttH,

        Chill out, the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory and Italian Hall fires were a long, long time ago. Workers in the U.S. today are more likely to block a fire door open so they can go catch a smoke than an employer will chain them shut. I’m not sure why so many people think that employees are inherently more moral than employers. Perhaps you can explain to me why you think that workers are more saintly than bosses? Bosses can be jerks but so can co-workers. As a matter of fact, a disgruntled co-worker can mess up your job and career at least as much as your boss can.

        The 40 hour work week was not the result of organized labor. It was the invention of Henry Ford, who realized that by having 8 hour shifts during the week and later eliminating a Saturday shift, he could run his plants 24/7/365 if he wanted to and have improved productivity with less fatigued workers. He went to an 8 hr workday in 1922 and a 5 day workweek in 1926. He also instituted an employee health clinic in 1913.

        The simple historical fact is that wages were going up and working conditions were improving long before most of industrial America was unionized, particularly the auto industry which wasn’t organized until the late 1930s following the passage of the Nat’l Labor Relations Act (aka Wagner Act) in 1935.

        There are lots of foundational myths of organized labor. “The unions gave us the weekend and eight hour day” is one. It’s the labor unions that gave us public employees who work, on average based on the most reliable studies, about 3 hours a week less than private sector workers do. You know those same, alacritous public employees that give us all service with a smile and a friendly, helpful attitude.

        BTW, you might be surprised when you look into the history of racism in the labor movement. Just as medieval guilds in Europe excluded Jews, so did many in the early labor movement fight against hiring blacks and others who might work for less. While the Knights of Labor and the CIO had black members, the AFL excluded blacks. Most American labor unions (the UAW was an exception but then the UAW actually has been on the right side of things sometimes, like when Walter Reuther kept out communist infiltrators) didn’t desegregate until after World War II.

        Another dirty little secret of progressive America, just like eugenics (Margaret Sanger and Planned Parenthood had a thing about preventing black babies).

      • 0 avatar
        GoFaster58

        How does a factory go from an approved 3 story building to an 8 story building without the authorities knowing about it? That’s what the owners did to the building that was in the recent Pakistan fire.

    • 0 avatar
      el scotto

      I live in a Right to Work state. That also includes right to be terminated any time, with no warning, and no need to give a reason. It’s rarely used, but it’s on the books.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        Regrettably, the economic times dictate that a lot more people will be terminated at will in the very near future, and that includes union members. Let’s see what life in these United States looks like after the Holidays.

        Some businesses, large and small, cannot sustain themselves because of coming government mandates, and some businesses are just cutting their staff to the bare minimum now to make up for higher future operating costs.

        In any case, if the economy picks up, these people can always be hired back, although the current trend appears to gravitate to a person holding two 30hr/wk part-time jobs without bennies instead of one 40hr/wk job with bennies.

        But as far as Michigan becoming a RTW state? Highly unlikely! It’s just not in their DNA.

      • 0 avatar
        PintoFan

        “Some businesses, large and small, cannot sustain themselves because of coming government mandates, and some businesses are just cutting their staff to the bare minimum now to make up for higher future operating costs.”

        Give me one concrete example. Go on, just try. I guarantee that anything you cite is going to be very easy to debunk as more investor simpering.

      • 0 avatar
        car_guy2010

        @highdesertcat- Many of these companies are paranoid and/or poorly-informed on the current mandate. I read somewhere that businesses with under 200 employees could apply for exemptions. If I’m wrong, feel free to correct me.

        Still, I see it more as angry Republican business owners that want to punish their employees for exercising their right to vote, even if it’s not the candidate that their bosses favor. That should be a form of discrimination punishable in the courts.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        car_guy2010, the people I am referring to are Democrat small business owners from the overwhelmingly Democrat state of New Mexico.

        I’m having difficulty posting my replies. Several have just evaporated after hitting the submit comment button. Really weird since I am an Independent and neither advocate for nor against unions but believe that employees should decide for themselves and live with the consequences.

      • 0 avatar
        raph

        Tru’dat el scotto, I live in a RTW state as well and it seems inappropriately named as it looks more like a right to fire law.

        Big national corporations don’t seem to be a problem as they tend to homogenize the various labor laws so that the entire staff is on a level playing ground where smaller businesses in RTW states utilize the right to fire clause with impunity.

      • 0 avatar

        So let’s say you own the business. Does an employee have a right to force you to continue to employ him? Does an employee have the permanent right to the money in your pocket? Why shouldn’t an employer be allowed to hire and fire based on what’s his best judgment for the firm? You can choose a different supplier for raw materials and components for your product, why shouldn’t you be able to choose a different supplier for labor?

        Seen one way, claiming that employees have the right to not be discharged without cause is effectively making the employer a slave to the employee.

        But then we have a legal system that makes men the slaves of their ex wives, with the threat of debtors’ prison.

      • 0 avatar
        baggins

        Raph -sounds about right. You can quit, any time, and no need to give a reason.

        Companies or employees who abuse either privilege will find themselves without good employees or a good job, respectively.

        Not sure why you think anyone owes you a job.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        elscotto,
        On the flip side of this, have you ever had an employee that really needed to be terminated because they were a cancer to the workplace, but couldn’t for fear of retribution because you didn’t have the “required necessary mandated documentation” to prove that you tried to counsel them, and gave them the prescribed amount of warnings etc?

        Then once you finally do get the chud out the door, you have to deal with his grievences to the labor board.

        No thanks.

    • 0 avatar
      thelaine

      Exactly.

      • 0 avatar
        el scotto

        @ Danio. I work in a nicely paid white collar industry. RTW also means no labor boards involved. It’s easy to document bad workers, but rarely used; mostly subtle hints of you’re not working out or transferring someone to another project is what happens. Concerning the previous sentence; raises are usually based on production and not seniority. No raise for two years? You need to be moving on.

  • avatar
    ByTheLake

    Agreed. An employee should have a “freedom to choose”. It will be interesting to watch this develop.

    • 0 avatar
      ClutchCarGo

      Whenever I hear of such freedom where employees and employers can both choose I am reminded of the words of Anatole France:

      “The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread.”

      • 0 avatar
        TW4

        Nice quote.

        I often think about how easy it would be for union management to jump in bed with the corporate board. Unions would outsource millions of jobs to secure higher nominal wages and better benefits for the workers who remained. Corporations would get record profits.

        Oh snap!

      • 0 avatar

        Whenever I hear of such moral relativism (it’s not as bad for a poor man to steal as it is for a rich man – for a contrary view see: Leviticus 19:15 and Exodus 23:3) I am reminded of the words of William J. H. Boetcker (mistakenly attributed to Abraham Lincoln):

        You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
        You cannot help small men by tearing down big men.
        You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.
        You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.
        You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than your income.
        You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatreds.
        You cannot establish security on borrowed money.
        You cannot build character and courage by taking away a man’s initiative and independence.
        You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves.
        William J. H. Boetcker, 1916

        In 2004 Will Wilkinson addressed the same issue philosophically rather than poetically:

        “However, I think that among the best argument for robust negative or liberty rights, i.e., for institutionalized constraints on coercion, is that a reliable system of negative rights over time creates more abilities, opens more paths of feasible possibility for individual lives, than most alternative systems of rights. Like Friedman and Hayek, I’m in favor of a modest and well-designed social safety net. However, political systems built around positive rights tend toward sclerosis, thereby reducing rates of economic growth, and a high rate of economic growth, along with (negative) liberty and stability, is part of the trinity of primary political goods (says me). Furthermore, a system of positive rights, conceived as a system of guarantees, is often self-defeating, because it cannot overcome systemic moral hazard problems that, independently of growth problems, turn out foreclose many of the possibilities for life that the system of guarantees was meant to open.

        A system of robust negative liberty, together with a modest well-designed safety net, is in my opinion the one in which people are least likely to avail themseleves of their freedom to sleep under bridges.”

      • 0 avatar
        Xeranar

        Ronnie, you can wax poetic all day long. Cold hard facts tell a different story. It isn’t a game of wealthy being deserving or poor being lazy. It’s a game of markets and exchange. Supply-side economics (which Ron Paul right-wing libertarians and the right-wing in general favor) are fundamentally flawed as wealth concentrates at the top and wages wither the ability to purchase depreciates. Demand-side which unions are fundamentally part of counteract this effect pushing money into the hands of the middle-class and poor. Reinvigorating flagging markets and causing consumption to rise.

        Simple math slaps your hate mongering down. I know you’ll believe what you will and TTAC will still froth vehemently and pretend they aren’t run by right-wingers who promote a mildly anti-union agenda but it seems as Republicans race to destroy our social safety net before finally being extinguished atleast the scorched earth policy will only last through my lifetime and we can finally move from their their pathetic chapter of history.

      • 0 avatar
        baggins

        Its very elegant prose. Alas, composed ~100 years ago

        Times have changes. Not sure if you’ve noticed, these days the poor people in America are fat.

        Only people begging for bread are mentally ill or unwilling to put forth even the effort to get govt support.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      Xeranar,
      I resent that you lump Libertarians (Ron Paul types to you) in with right-wing wackos. The political spectrum is very subjective, but I wish politcal leftists wouldn’t pigeon-hole anyone who promotes personal and fiscal responsibility as “right wing”.

      Interestingly, many extreme righties who believe in imperialism and regulating morality accuse many Libertarians of being “Liberals”. Of course Libertarians are liberal in the factual sense of the word, but not the political sense as it applies today.

      This is why I feel Libertarians are actually centrists as they do not seek to promote either leading brand of statism.

      • 0 avatar
        Xeranar

        Libertarians as we discuss them in the US come in two flavors. The pro-choice/civil rights left-wing which takes the literal meaning of liberty and uses it. The other is the Ron Paul-Right who talk about ownership, property, and exploitation as a right. Libterianism is much like populism as it is more a method than an ideology in its own. The reason mainstream/establishment right-wingers despise their co-wingers is because they reject the evangelical wing that wins them elections.

        I teach a class on the political spectrum, I refuse to use the quadrant style because it promotes a false premise. Single issue voters are real but much rarer than we think so people tend to vote on the linear track of left to right.

      • 0 avatar
        corntrollio

        “I teach a class on the political spectrum, I refuse to use the quadrant style because it promotes a false premise. Single issue voters are real but much rarer than we think so people tend to vote on the linear track of left to right.”

        But that’s only true in the US, where the parties tend to be linear in nature. Even so, there are individual candidates who are off the linear track — look at Mike Gravel, for example.

        In other countries, there are mainstream parties in at least 3 quadrants, if not 4, so it seems like you’re taking a US-centric view by not teaching quadrants.

        In any case, there’s much to say on the flaws of libertarianism, but they are most certainly not centrists.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    UAW should really watch itself, they are already far more hated post-bailout on a national level than they were prior due to the dirty politics involved with the GM bankruptcy.

    If they end up on national television looking like jag offs it will only hurt them in the long run. Among the people I know, only my parent’s generation (60ish) and current union members go in for the “buy union” moniker. It really turns people off to whine about politics on television when you still have your full-time-with-bennies jobs while many in this country still have none or are underemployed.

    • 0 avatar
      PintoFan

      “It really turns people off to whine about politics on television when you still have your full-time-with-bennies jobs while many in this country still have none or are underemployed.”

      So looking out for your own interest constitutes “whining” now? Isn’t that how capitalism is supposed to work? And no, very few people “hate” the UAW. The ones that do are mostly management and their paid-for toadies, the same set that always have. Most people don’t give a damn because there’s more ignorance of labor issues in this country then there has been in a long time.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        “So looking out for your own interest constitutes “whining” now? Isn’t that how capitalism is supposed to work?”

        Capitalism is not supposed to work by political lobbying. Not when that lobbying is to serve business, and not when it is to serve socialists. Perhaps you’re thinking of crony capitalism, but either way it would seem that your unionized teachers failed you.

      • 0 avatar
        PintoFan

        “Capitalism is not supposed to work by political lobbying.”

        Capitalism isn’t supposed to “work,” period, in that it’s not intended to benefit anyone who doesn’t have access to large amounts of capital. Forming worker organizations is one of the few ways that the labor force has of overcoming the vast power of capital interests, especially when those interests are closely aligned with government. Right-to-scab is a direct assault on freedom of association, and you know it.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        Capitalism is just a term stuck on the way people interact when they have real freedom. Private property is the most fundamental component of freedom, since without it anything you produce is never yours. Anything you do can have no residual worth to you. Without private property we are all slaves, since we can never better ourselves or serve our own purposes. Private property is property one can utilize as they wish. You can consume it. You can hoard it. You can use it to further enrich yourself. This is what Marx attacked under the name of Capitalism. It is hard to talk people into being serfs by giving up their most basic freedoms, but it is easier when you pick an aspect of freedom and then denigrate it as unfair to people that can’t figure out how to leverage it themselves.

      • 0 avatar
        car_guy2010

        I’ve noticed that those with a deep hatred of unions have either never been in an union in their life or they are a bitter ex-member of an union.

        Keep on believing the falsehoods, toadies. I hope you enjoy your “right-to-work” jobs with their shitty pay and absolutely no worker protection against preying management.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        UAW over time helped bankrupt and then was given a piece of its employer through a bankruptcy process in violation of the law of the land… this in itself is amazing and in my view they should quit while they are ahead and I dunno, focus on doing their jobs.

        I know several 50-60 year old steel workers who do hate UAW and refuse to buy products made by the Big Three, because of UAW. Why? A big part of their rationale being there was no magic bailout to save Pittsburgh steel industries in the 80s and our region persevered to later reinvent itself. Detroit could do the same, but it probably won’t and simply continue along the road to Mad Max.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        Pintofan; First world problems in a global economy fueled by the third world.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        “First world problems in a global economy fueled by the third world.”

        Excellent point.

      • 0 avatar
        TW4

        PintoFan, have you acquired the ability to read? Can you use Google?

        Capitalism benefits people without capital b/c capitalism needs labor and intellectual property. Therefore, workers and asset-owners engage in mutually beneficial cooperation. Furthermore, a robust-capitalist society will actually exhaust the labor reserves within a given society. Full-employment causes nominal wages to rise. Since rising wages increases domestic demand for goods and services, corporate profitability often rises. Companies tend to outsource jobs they can’t fill, rather than outsourcing critical jobs in an attempt to slash labor costs and raise profits. We learned this lesson in the late-1990s. The dotcom market was fated to correction, but the possibility of controlled-inflation and higher median wage was evident.

        Liberalism is not opposition to capitalism. It is the idea that government can actually make capitalism more robust, and give greater bargaining power to the American middle class and higher productivity to businesses with programs for education, health, worker-training, etc. The current crop of Democrats are ideological fossils–a group of social agitators and flower-children from the pre-stagflation cultural revolution who try to score middle class victories at the expense of some fabricated 1% demographic. The current administration needs to evolve. They are an embarrassment to the Democratic party and our nation.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      The survival of the unions in America is an existential issue, for them.

      But with all the mandates already put in place by the Federal government to protect and nurture all employees everywhere, I have to ask, “What, exactly, does any union provide its members, other than a 15% loss of wages taken out in dues every pay day?”

      • 0 avatar
        PintoFan

        So you’re telling me that if all labor unions in this country disappeared tomorrow, the federal regulatory regime would continue on without any changes, and nobody would lose any wages or benefits?

        What in history would possibly make you believe that any of this is true?

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        highdesertcat, unions protect the employees that aren’t productive while destroying the morale of the employees that are. Unions may not be worth it to people that ensure their employment by contributing to their employers’ business, but they are vital to those that don’t have anything to offer.

      • 0 avatar
        PintoFan

        What unions do is minimize the ability of employers to ruin lives and bodies, which many of them find disagreeable. They also find it disagreeable that they might have to pay a living wage to their employees, which is why they have fought so long and hard to destroy them.

        When you start arguing with an anti-union shill (like I have many times) and they start arguing that ownership of a fridge and a stove is a “luxury,” then you know the kind of alternate universe these people are living in.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        The key in my view is to seek a genuine balance between labor and management… because for every greedy manager wishing he could put third graders on the assembly line, there is a lazy, fat, uneducated, impish union employee feeling entitled to unheard-of benefits and a mandatory 5% annual pay raise.

        In practice the desires of unions I have seen run counter to the desires and needs of their employer and its shareholders, thus the union becomes a parasite and a sycophant on their employer and on society as a whole.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        It’s true that unions, at one time, really helped their members and protected them. PintoFan is right there, but that was in the Dark Ages.

        In today’s America, the Federal mandates are what protects the employees, and actually bestows MORE rights and protections on illegal aliens, homosexuals and minorities than it does on the majority.

        Say or do anything against an illegal alien, homosexual or other minority and the EEOC will have your ass in front of a court! You’re guaranteed to lose. Ask anyone who’s gone through the process. No union required.

        It’s too controversial a subject to get into here, but what unions can do is in the eye of the beholder. Or, as has happened before, unions can actually collectively bargain their employer into the financial grave, bankruptcy or just turning off the lights and closing their doors.

        My dad was a union-man (IBEW) in California for at least two decades until he got his appointment with the Federal government as an Electrician with the Air Force Station.

        The union people were after him for his entire career at the AFS when he worked there but he refused to join the union and had to endure strong-arming, attempts at intimidation, four flat tires on his car and probably a lot of other painful things since he was neither illegal, homosexual nor a minority.

        It didn’t make any sense. He had more pay, better benefits and more time off with the feds than he ever did as a union member in a union shop. But it was all about the union dues he didn’t pay.

        Well, he won the argument. He never paid union dues and retired as a federal (CSRS) employee after 20 years there.

        BTW, I’m am an Independent and my view on unions is that the employees should decide in a free and open vote whether they want to unionize, or not. No threats. No card check. No backroom finagling. Just a plain up or down vote.

        Just like this thing about the RTW status of Michigan. Just an up or down vote. Yay or Nay. RTW or not.

      • 0 avatar
        kenzter

        Homosexuals? Name one “right” that they have that straights don’t. Or are you actually claiming there is some mandate somewhere that a certain number of hires must be gay?

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        “Or are you actually claiming there is some mandate somewhere that a certain number of hires must be gay?”

        In Pennsylvania, most local municipalities (but not the Commonwealth) grant homosexuals protected class status. This may not seem like much, however in local gov’t hiring or recruiting they are automatically granted a higher status than non-minorities. I’m sure its only a matter of time before there is a hiring quota as there already is for females, blacks, and hispanics (curiously though our city’s gov’t does not consider Asians a protected class). I know this because I have a family member who last summer graduated from our city’s police academy and the recruiting/hiring rules were explained to them I believe by the police union after they were hired.

        http://www DOT padiversity DOT org/ProtectedClasses.html

      • 0 avatar
        kenzter

        Protected class as in not being fired. Has nothing to do with getting hired. Gays are a “protected class” in CA too, yet my company doesn’t (and can’t) ask about it on our job application.

        “There is no PA state or US federal law that protects you from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.” From the site you posted.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Correct there are no state or federal laws, there are LOCAL laws designating them a protected class, and while I can’t speak for California, in this state and city they were given preference in hiring to the city police. How this was declared I cannot say because I wasn’t there and to be honest I didn’t ask about the details (maybe the classmates in question were also other minorities?).

        By the by not being able to fire someone of a “protected class” is discrimination against those not in a “protected class”… sometimes the boss is told to trim the fat and if some statute tells him he can’t fire employee A, B, and C even if employee D is better than all of them, D could be the one heading to the unemployment line.

      • 0 avatar
        el scotto

        @ HDC your dad went from the IBEW to goons trying to force him into AFCME or whatever the Government union was. Two very different unions.

      • 0 avatar
        kenzter

        Still wrong. It means my employer cannot fire me for being gay. There is no gay quota. If they are downsizing, they don’t have to keep an underperforming gay over a more qualified str8 white male employee.
        I mean, how would you even enforce this? It is pretty easy to prove disabled, sex, color, etc. Gay, not so much. Someone could easily say claim to be gay to get a job. Is said employer going to keep tabs on the gay to make sure they are having lots of gay sex?

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        el scotto, my dad HAD to carry a union card in order to be employed as an electrician in California and it was made perfectly clear to him that without joining the IBEW he would never work in the state.

        It wasn’t just back then. There have been recent flare ups in union-related pressuring such as the peaceful march on the Wisconsin state house that caused tons of damage to the building and grounds.

        And there were all the incidents of door knocking and doorbell ringing when the UAW tried to get the transplants workers organized, not to mention the confrontations in the parking lots with the organizers.

        Or how about the recent the recent Wal-Mart strikes on Black Friday where the unions bussed in a bunch of non-Wal-Mart people to play grab-ass in the parking lot? That’s coercion too!

        Hey, I’m not against unions but I do believe that workers should choose for themselves if they want to unionize or not. If they do, they will pay dearly or at least 15% of their take-home pay.

        I bet the folks working for Hostess wish that things had turned out differently for the 18000+ soon-to-be unemployed. If you recall, the Teamsters sided with Hostess.

        It was the Bakers who collectively bargained the whole lot out of their jobs. That’s a tough thing to have to live with even though the taxpayers will pick up and nationalize the burden of these unemployed as well.

        My guess would be that given the choice they would collectively prefer to be employed without any union involved now and in a RTW state that would be possible.

        But it is not going to happen in Michigan. The RTW initiative will be soundly defeated by the fear mongerers of the unions. People will be intimidated to vote against the RTW initiative.

    • 0 avatar
      Xeranar

      I read partially through the rest of the posts and just found them to be inane and anti-intellectual with a dash of random anecdotal evidence to prove nothing.

      As a general rule the UAW have a positive rating amongst the people. The auto bailout has a positive rating amongst the people.
      The President has a positive rating amongst the people for pressing for the Auto bailout.

      All three of those statements have valid peer-reviewed evidence backing them up. Only in Republican/Right-wing fantasy land did Mitt Romney win the secret election and won michigan because he opposed the bailout that was put in place. The bailout in general was a master stroke of national governing unlike the banks as their ownership wasn’t changed in the process. People get upset when you hand bad owners money and then don’t press them to change their ways. We did that with the banks. We didn’t do that with the Auto industry. Simple as that.

      Also, it appears unionization is getting an upswing as the current under-30 generation favors liberalism and is tying it back to the New Deal style liberalism that promoted unionization. Wal-Mart is a key target of it and shows the pressure that unions are starting to build once more with the key younger demographic.

      • 0 avatar
        Yeah_right

        Simple as wha?? “People get upset when you had bad owners money and then don’t press them to change their ways.” Bad GM management was handed TAXPAYER money and bad union management was given a big ownership stake. Neither change their ways. No GM execs were fired. No union pay/benefit concessions were required. GM was granted billions in taxpayer debt and is still swirling the bowl, losing market share.

        Ane your Wal-Mart reference is absurd. The pathetically small protests on Thanksgiving were local leftists. A minute fraction of Wal-Mart employees participated in those rallys.

  • avatar
    PintoFan

    They could at least be honest and call it a scab law, which is what it is. “Freedom” has nothing to do with it.

    Here’s a tip, Rick: Nobody cares how many jobs you create if they all pay $8 an hour, without benefits.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Actually, the non-unionized transplants in the South pay pretty good money; some have written that it was on par with the UAW plants, without the union dues deduction.

      I’m really not sure that many small businesses can afford to pay much more than $8 per hour and provide bennies as well.

      Where is the incentive for the risk-takers/entrepreneurs if they have to collectively pay their employees more than they pay themselves? Employees don’t take any risks in setting up a business.

      I know quite a few people who own small businesses with less than 25 employees, and most of them struggle to make payroll every two weeks because most of their “wealth” is tied up in the Accounts-Receivable Ledger and counterbalanced by their Accounts-Payable ledger.

      The biggest offender of delayed payments is, of course, the US Government. I have several friends, small businessmen all, who have contracts at the various military installations in the area and they have told me that the government is often 90-120 days in arrears.

      Getting a union in there too would bargain many of them out of business and the union members out of a job. If the unions were to ever succeed in organizing Wal-Mart or the other Big Box stores, we would see fewer of the stores and the prices would not be as low as they are now.

      If employees want to share in the profits, they should buy stock or otherwise invest in their employer. It’s called ESOP. Until they do, employees are only entitled to the wages in return for a fair day’s work.

      • 0 avatar
        el scotto

        Wal-Mart is poor example for arguing anti-union. It’s a company that shows it employees how to apply for food stamps because they earn so little. It’s the example of the company of greed: non-full time hours, little or no benefits, and plenty of abuse. Get called in to work non scheduled hours and don’t come in? You’re fired!! That’s OK folks; hang your diet sodas off your shopping cart so they won’t crush your eight bags of ‘tater chips. It’s all at a Low Wal-Mart price.

      • 0 avatar

        el scotto, the Obama administration has all sorts of programs to encourage the elderly and various ethnic groups (in various languages) encouraging people to apply for food stamps. Shall I point you to the advertising and other propaganda that the USDA uses to sell people on using food stamps? They aren’t simply about educating people who are starving, they’re about teaching people to take advantage of entitlements. The number of people on food stamps has increased by almost 50% in the last four years. That’s millions of people who aren’t all working at WallMart. The more people you can get on food stamps, the more people have a financial interest in voting for you.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        el scotto, were you aware that many people in the US military are on food stamps? Yep, I see it every time I go shopping at one of the Commissaries. You would not think that the US government employees would need to be on food stamps, but many are.

        And when I was in the military (1965-1985) we had people below the rank of SSgt who were on welfare, WIC and food stamps. I qualified for all that as well until I made SSgt but fortunately my parents and my in-laws covered all of our needs.

        Just like I’m doing now with my kids and grandkids. Maybe some of the skeptical jokers on this board can now understand why I spend ALL my money furnishing things for my kids and grand kids. I don’t want them to be free loaders. I want them to be educated, self-supporting and financially independent. But hey, my grand daughter works at Mickey Dee’s on Fri, Sat and Sun.

        In any case, let me be clear: I believe that an employee is only entitled to a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work. The law mandates a minimum wage and that’s all that is required unless someone is skilled or specialized or highly educated at which point it would behoove an employer to try to keep them at their company.

        Employees do not take any risk in establishing a business. They are the hired help. That’s all they are; the hired help. If they don’t like it there they are free to leave because there is always someone else to take their place.

        If employees want to share in the profits and losses, let them buy stock.

        I’ve employed a great many different people, mostly illegal aliens to help me build my house and maintain the rentals bought by my wife’s family real estate company, and every single one of them, men and women, were grateful to get paid. Oh Senor, any time you have work, think of me, por favor!

        They didn’t expect health care or profit sharing. Hell they were happy to have MCI (money coming in).

        I don’t know where this idea came from that an employer somehow should foot the bill for their employees in addition to paying them wages, but at least with a RTW state that could be minimalized. So that has to be union thing, outrageous pay, health bennies and lots of time off with pay. Job bank, anyone?

        If people are worth their salt, they’ll stay employed. If not, there’s always Obama’s welfare rolls, complete with free health care, paid for by the people who actually pay income taxes.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        All good points, highdesertcat

    • 0 avatar
      MrGreenMan

      Plenty of people would like $20/hr factory jobs that are going to Indiana and Tennessee instead coming to Michigan. It’s hard for Michiganders to accept the perpetual high unemployment to provide wage protection for an ever-shrinking yet ever-more-vocal union workforce.

      It didn’t help general relations with the UAW “show of force”, marching around inside polling places in Michigan last month with their UAW regalia like they were our own variation of the Philly Black Panthers.

    • 0 avatar
      TW4

      “Here’s a tip, Rick: Nobody cares how many jobs you create if they all pay $8 an hour, without benefits.”

      Yes, they do. An economy without minimum-wage, low-responsibility employment is like a ladder without any bottom rungs. The poor will remain perpetually poor by systemic mandate, reaching for a rung of the ladder they can never reach. Society will spend trillions of dollars trying to boost these downtrodden citizens into financial self-sustainability. Instead of producing their way up the ladder, they will consume immense societal resources, and our nation will stagnate unnecessarily.

      To some degree this is already happening with collegiate academics. There are few ladders upward without collegiate training. Society encourages the young to incur enormous expense to ‘produce’ their way to the bottom rung of the skilled-labor ladder. When they get to the bottom, they find that corporate America cannot carry the enormous expenses they have incurred to train themselves. Society begins to crumble.

    • 0 avatar
      oldfatandrich

      Pinto, please post a photo of your living room wall. I’ll bet ($10,000) that it includes a mural of the Flint sit-down strikes. And how about those posters excoriating management “toadies” (one of your favorite words) who conspire to deprive the masses of a living wage ? You make me laugh. You ought to decamp to New York (the most heavily unionized state), join Actors’ Equity and go on stage !!!

  • avatar
    Jimmy7

    Um…the southern auto plants in right-to-work states pay high wages to keep the unions out. Any guesses what they’d pay if there were no unions to organize their workers?

  • avatar
    Nitro Cory

    The law passed in Wisconsin is much less comprehensive than right-to-work. The Wisconsin law merely limits bargaining powers for public (not private) sector unions. Many wish for right-to-work in Wisconsin, but it’s unlikely.

  • avatar
    Yeah_right

    I’ll not be as magnanimous and even-handed as some of the other posters. I’m of the “anti union death-to-union” crowd. Whatever good they did in the misty past, they’re a special interest economic anchor.

    I worked at the Highland Park, MI Dodge plant as a new engineer. Bright, eager new employees were quickly told to dial it back. Those who resisted because slow-working felt dishonest where met in the parking lot and “convinced.” Pick up a wrench to help a mechanic, and you got a grievance for your trouble. The union’s role was to protect the ludicrous work rules and to protect the jobs of some of the most despicable, debased humans you’d ever meet.

    So, I moved to Tennessee to work in a non-union, non-auto plant. Cooperation and collaboration are expected. Grab a wrench, and the mechanic says “thanks.” Show initiative, have good ideas, work hard and you get rewarded. I’ve been here 25 years and have yet to stumble into the area where the company keeps the 9-year-olds chained to their machines.

    But still. Michiganders. Keep your beautiful state the worker’s paradise it currently is. More jobs for us.

    • 0 avatar
      redmondjp

      Just like yourself, I have worked in both union and non-union shops. And just as you say, I will pick the non-union one any time, any day for just the reasons you describe.

      The maddening work rules where a pipefitter must be present to loosen one large fitting, while an instrument technician also had to be present to loosen the one small fitting, and the electrician had to be present to open the box lid, and so on, caused the most unproductive work environment I have ever been in. Jobs were scheduled months ahead of time because all of the necessary trades had to be present to do a job that one or two people could easily accomplish, and then the job was more often than not cancelled/rescheduled because one of the five trades couldn’t make it (even though it had been planned for months). It was like trying to get the planets to line up.

      Whereas, in the non-union shops, as you stated, we were all on the same team. I could be out on the assembly line turning wrenches during crunch-time and the line workers were glad to have the help. There was no fear of getting written up for helping coworkers, and thus the company, do well.

      Where I work now, I am represented by the union but am not required to join (dues would be almost $1K per year for me). The union members act like they are in a special club, and tend to look down upon the rest of us who have chosen not to join. That kind of attitude just doesn’t help productivity and employee unity at all. We are all doing the exact same work and must work together on projects.

    • 0 avatar
      2drsedanman

      Well said. This is why I own 2 Nissans and 2 Toyotas. Kentucky has done alright by Toyota. I don’t hear any of the workers in Georgetown wanting a union, for reasons you stated.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      “The union’s role was to protect the ludicrous work rules and to protect the jobs of some of the most despicable, debased humans you’d ever meet.”

      Couldn’t have said it better.

  • avatar
    Beerboy12

    Shouldn’t Snyder be trying to attract working people back to Michigan? Last time I checked Detroit was a bit of a ghost town…
    “Right to work” is poorly named and no matter how you argue it, it is perceived to be labor UN-friendly so good luck getting all those people who left Michigan after the credit / auto industry melt down to come gleefully skipping back under these new laws.

  • avatar
    TW4

    “Hundreds of unionized workers converged on the state capital of Lansing today to voice (loudly) their opposition against the law.”

    Hundreds of people showed up to support their ability to force new-hires to join a union as a pre-condition of employment. Pathetic. Disgusting. Sub-human.

    The destruction of Americas unions by bad bosses is like watching someone push Lady Liberty into a cesspool.

    If they spent half as much time developing a new business model as they spent outsourcing jobs and manufacturing social unrest, our country, people, and companies would be immeasurably better off.

    • 0 avatar
      el scotto

      TW4 it’s called a closed shop. It’s usually announced on employment forms for the company with verbiage like “must join union within 90 days of employment” or some variation.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    I used to be in three trade unions, bid projects on union pay rates, and Oh My Gosh! paid union rates and/or prevailing wage. I got happy, well compensated employees, well trained employees. The horror! the horror! of a company full of solid middle class citizens. FWIW the Ironworkers supported the GOP this election.

    • 0 avatar
      oldyak

      My son was a apprentice union Iron worker until a boating accident destroyed his shoulder.The books he had to read and the time he spent with the Journeymen to learn the skills made me realize that there was a reason builders wanted union iron-workers!
      Particularly for jobs with a high degree of potential liability.
      I was proud to say I had a son who was a UNION Iron-worker!
      The UAW has given unions a bad name!
      Drunks/dopers at lunch..etc..etc…It needs to go away.
      Lets get back to “union Made” meaning something that people aren’t ashamed of!

  • avatar
    jacob_coulter

    Even if you’re an enthusiastic Union supporter (and I used to be) I just don’t see how you can be against VOLUNTARY membership of unions.

    No one should have their employment tied to whether they are a member of a political group. I would say the same thing if say a gun store forced employees to join the NRA and pay dues out of their paycheck.

    It’s simply unamerican.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    OK B&B. Where I live there are three grocery store chains: Kroger, Harris-Teeter, and Food Lion. Only one of them is union. Contrary to all that’s been said here the union store is competitive in a fierce segment. I usually shop at the union one. For those familiar with the area there is one Giant store. Their other non-union store closed. Go figure.

    • 0 avatar
      TW4

      Everyone knows unions can achieve. The sad reality is that most US unions don’t achieve. They trim their membership to score cush wages and benefits. They mismanage worker productivity. They extort taxpayers by rallying public employees.

      Union membership is contracting. Manufacturing jobs are evaporating. Detroit has progressed beyond bankruptcy to perpetual bailout. They always claim that Republicans and evil 1% are out to get them. Unfortunately, many unions are simply greedy, unproductive, and incompetent. Their failure is politically subsidized.

      The American people are now seeing both sides of the coin. Some managers are indeed corrupt and incompetent. The unions might be worse.

  • avatar

    this is divisive nonsense. yeah the unions are past their prime but this isn’t the issue. we need to focus on more important issues in Michigan like Sales Tax on the Difference and Chemtrails. don’t fall for the confusion and misdirection.

    Buickman

  • avatar
    RockKickass

    I worked in an aircraft factory in a right to work state – Kansas.

    It was a very interesting dynamic. In the ‘back shops’ as they were called – stamp press, basic machine operators, sheet metal assemblies – those departments were almost 100% union. As you got closer to the end of the production line, final assembly & test, product flight test, customer delivery center the rate of union membership dropped significantly. Over at experimental flight test the mechanics (all FAA licensed),instrumentation and avionics techs (90% ex-military), actually reported to engineering – no union at all.

    While I was never in the union I must say that having an ‘open-shop’ actually made the union a better organization for the employes that belonged. Knowing that the membership could just up and quit at the end of each month encouraged a level of transparency and responsiveness that I never saw later in life in closed shop aircraft factories.

  • avatar
    acuraandy

    Unions have done good things for the working class (I.e. vacation, reasonable working hours, sufficient pay, child labor abolition), and as much as I rip on organized labor, I do recognize these advancements.

    That said, it should be up to the employee wether or not to participate; self negotiation is a lost art that it slowly coming back. It shouldn’t be condition of employment to be in a Union.

    This is a personal choice issue guys.

    • 0 avatar
      Xeranar

      self-negotiation is an unrealistic goal amongst all but the skilled or highly credentialed. If you’re in the union in a semi-skilled position or sadly unskilled you bet your bottom dollar that union is protecting your wage from attack by non-union workers who will work for less.

      I always point to Ricardo and the iron law of wages for this. Ultimately the market will bear starvation wages as we have a vast surplus of labor. We as a society should be lowering our retirement age to 62 or 63 while promoting a healthy increase in on-the-job education through tax credits while opening our colleges up to greater enrollment for a better educated population. Instead we’re handing our GDP to 400 people who have no interest in anyone but themselves.

      • 0 avatar
        baggins

        Right, the answer is MORE people going to college. Not everyone is college material.

        Pretty sure too many people are spending errr borrowing too much money on college, keeping a bunch of administrators and professors fat and happy, while adjuncts barely get by.

        Why dont you rage about the university system, the way they deal with adjuncts makes Wal Mart look like a bunch of pikers. They are full of “hate” for adjuncts I tell you.(Citing “Hate” is a staple of every liberal’s emotion based argumentation.)

        Funny how Universities avoid liberal rage. Why is that?

      • 0 avatar
        Yeah_right

        In this we agree. Unionization, particularly of low-skilled employees, results in wages significantly higher than necessary -”necessary” meaning that the employer is forced to pay more for union employees when having an organized workforce has no positive impact on productivity (and is usually much, much worse.)

        No question that this is a great set-up for those lucky enought to be employed in a situation where management is forced to pay you more than your work is worth. The people who benefit from moneny and bennies legally coerced from others always fight like crazy to keep the gravy train going and are incredibly sanctimonious in defending their swindle.

  • avatar
    pgcooldad

    I’m sure union stewards will do their “best” to represent non-paying members. ‘Oh, I had only 5 days to put in a grievance for your boss favoring his dads buddy’s son over you when it came time to schedule someone for OT? I thought it was 6 days. Next time it happens I’ll get it in on time”

  • avatar
    Geekcarlover

    The biggest part of this story is that it’s being considered at all. It’s a sign of the weakening status of unions that politicians in Michigan can openly debate the virtues of going with “Right to Work”. 20 years ago any politician would only have mentioned it as part of their resignation speech.

    • 0 avatar
      dtremit

      It doesn’t have all that much to do with Michigan at all, to be honest. It has everything to do with national Republican politics, and Citizens United. In a world without campaign finance limitations, unions are the only large-scale donors to the Democratic Party. Ergo, any bill that weakens unions financially is a big win for the GOP. It’s tactics, not philosophy.

      • 0 avatar

        So you prefer a system where union political contributions are unchecked but those from businesses are regulated? Unions are just as much corporations as the companies for which they supply labor.

        Why should employers act as a collection agency for a labor union? Eliminating automatic payroll deductions for union dues and mandatory political contributions shouldn’t reduce union revenues if they are genuinely providing a worthwhile service to their members. What are you afraid of? A little choice, or is being pro-choice only the right position on some issues?

        Where is the morality of public employee unions giving campaign contributions to politicians who then allocate more money for more public employees?

        The same freedom of association and rights to contract that protect the existence of unions also protect groups like Citizens United and other private interests that want to spend money to express their First Amendment rights.

      • 0 avatar
        NulloModo

        There’s too much money in politics overall. Living in a swing state I was inundated with political ads heading up towards the election, and from both sides it was almost all fluff.

        Set incredibly strict limits on campaign spending, ban campaign ads, and replace them with public service announcements stating that copies of each candidate’s position documents will be made available free of charge at your local public library, post office, or non-partisan run official elections website. Televise the debates, and allow voters to go and read about where the candidates stand on various issues and make their own decision without the constant media blitz.

        While we’re at it we can dramatically reduce the power of paid lobbyists. Whenever a measure, bill, or initiative comes up for a vote in congress announce an open forum in which anyone who wishes to voice their opinion, whether individual citizen or representative of an organization or corporation, can come and have their voice heard. Publish a mailing address and a website where those who can’t attend personally can express their views. Under no circumstances shall any agent of any organization or corporation be allowed to negotiate with, cajole, or attempt to sway the vote of any elected official under penalty of law.

      • 0 avatar
        Xeranar

        Ronnie – You’re full of it. Plain and simple. If you think a union has equivalent money to throw around you’re sadly mistaken. Money = free speech is a poor rule by any standard and simply should not be allowed in any respect. The problem is you’re just spouting the right-wing talking points because by silencing the unions you’re rewarding one political wing. Free association is fine, nobody is stopping the worlds billionaires from hanging out together and promoting their agenda but if they have 90% of all the wealth no amount of union money can overcome that in a dollar-for-dollar fight.

        Public Employees are unpaid actually. I have to say this because people like you demonize anybody who isn’t in private industry as if all those services will magically appear from thin air. The government takes a small portion of GDP for taxes and these people provide a service which they are underpaid in the long-term. Study after study proves this. Yet they get hounded for asking for raise. Perhaps we should be turning to the private sector and asking why they don’t spend more on their employees?

        The point of capitalism is to extract as much from labor as possible while paying the least. It is where profit comes from. Capital is meant to gain from it but labor should benefit as well. As it stands our society has labor suffering worse than any time in the 20th and 21st century.

        Republicans are scorching the earth as their demographic dies off…so sad. Least by the time I’m decrepit they’ll be gone and we can start righting the ship.

      • 0 avatar
        baggins

        Pretty your buddies like Google and George Soros make a pretty big splash in the Democratic coffers.

      • 0 avatar
        baggins

        Xeranar – you might be the most blindly partisan poster on this site.

        Here in california, the teacher union essentially runs the state. Political adverts paid for by them dominate the airwaves. They spent TENS OF MILLIONS pushing thru yet another tax increase for california.

        For very Koch brother, there’s a Soros.

        You are utterly delusional.

  • avatar
    Waterview

    It’s interesting that one of the best statements on the topic was made by “Hank” who posted the very first comment. Unions may be good or bad (not for me to determine), but why is it inherently “wrong” to give a worker the opportunity to choose whether or not he wishes to join and whether or not the worker chooses to support the union financially? If a given union’s merits are compelling, one would think that workers would be glad to join and support financially. Reverse is true also.

    Cudos to Hank for pointing out that each individual should have the liberty to make the best choice for themselves.

  • avatar
    thelaine

    +1


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