Michigan Takes the Right to Work Road

“There will be blood,” State Representative Douglas Geiss promised from the floor of the Michigan House of Representatives today as the body passed legislation that would make Michigan the nation’s 24th right to work state.  Republican Governor Rick Snyder (R) is expected to sign the bill into law tomorrow.

“This is the nuclear option,” warned Geiss, a Democrat from Taylor. “This is the most divisive issue that we have had to deal with. And this will have repercussions. And it will have personal hard feelings after this is all said and done.”

Protesters in the gallery chanted “Shame on you!” as the measures were approved. Union backers clogged the hallways and grounds shouting, “No justice, no peace.”

“This is about freedom, fairness and equality,” House Speaker Jase Bolger said. “These are basic American rights — rights that should unite us.”

Michigan has both the highest unionization and unemployment rates in the Midwest.  Initially, Snyder had said he wasn’t interested in signing the legislation this term, but has unions made it increasingly difficult to govern the state, he changed his mind.  The legislation will ban requirements that nonunion employees pay unions for negotiating contracts and other services.

The Washington Post reports, “Supporters counter that workers will have more choice and boost economic growth, but critics say the real intent is to weaken organized labor by bleeding unions of money needed to bargain effectively with management.

According to The Detroit Free Press, “Public employee unions opposed Snyder’s moves to put more teeth into emergency manager laws that would enable swifter action to rescue cities and school districts that bungled themselves into insolvency.

“In Detroit, Mayor Dave Bing and a spineless City Council were stonewalled by employee unions at every turn, slow-walking needed reforms and cost-cutting while the city burned through cash at a frightening rate.  As a result, Snyder’s patient attempt to help fix Detroit via consent agreement instead of imposing an emergency manager has failed.

“To top it off, Snyder found himself having to fight off Proposal 2, the ill-advised November ballot attempt to stuff a bag of goodies for organized labor into the Michigan Constitution.

“Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder had previously said he had no interest in signing right to work legislation this term, but that has changed as unions have made it increasingly more difficult to govern the state.

“Public employee unions opposed Snyder’s moves to put more teeth into emergency manager laws that would enable swifter action to rescue cities and school districts that bungled themselves into insolvency.

The Washington Post reports, “The legislation was a devastating and once unthinkable defeat for organized labor in a state considered a cradle of the movement.  Unswayed by Democrats’ pleas and thousands of protesters inside and outside the state Capitol, the House approved two final bills, sending them on to Gov. Snyder. One dealt with private sector workers, the other with government employees. Both measures cleared the Senate last week

“I really wish we had not gone here,” a disappointed Geiss said. “It is the leadership in this house that has led us here. The same leadership that tried to throw a bomb right on Election Day, leading to a member switching parties, and came in at the 11th hour with a gotcha bill. For that, I do not see solace, I do not see peace.”

Years ago, when the bus company my mother worked for organized a union and went on strike, she refused to participate.  The strikers were preventing the buses from entering and leaving the yard.  The local police, in solidarity, at first refused to do anything about the protestors’ harassment.  My mother paid the police a visit.  She asked the officer what flag was flying over the police station.

“The American flag,” he said.

“That’s right,” she said, “and as long as that flag is flying, you have a duty to protect me and my right to go to work!”  They came to the yard and made sure the buses could get in and out.

One afternoon, one of the drivers wasn’t going to let my mother cross into the yard so she could get to her bus and start her afternoon school runs.  The woman stood in the middle of the bridge, daring her to try to cross.  Mom sized her up.  ‘I can take her,’ she thought.  Mom intended throw the woman off the bridge and into the brook (a drop of about two feet).

“You want it?!” Mom said.  “You wanna fight?!  Well, come on; I’ll give you a fight!”

At that moment, the woman’s sister came running out and picked her sister up bodily.  She dragged her off, her arms and legs flailing.  Mom calmly got back into our Dodge van, crossed the bridge into the yard, and went to work.

Better educated people are aware that there’s more to unions than meets the average eye.  Unions have not just a Socialist but a Communist agenda.  Their ties to organized crime are well-documented as well as the violence against management and “scabs” – non-union workers – who cross the picket line.

It’s not that management never has it coming.  Witness the treatment of the two nurses at Edward VII Memorial Hospital over the deejay prank.  The latest news is that she was being harassed by her co-workers.  The hospital denies that they reprimanded the first nurse in any way, and in fact, supported her.  We still haven’t learned the fate of the second nurse, though.  Was she fired, and were the co-workers taking it out on the first nurse?

That’s usually the reason employees favor union organization, if they favor it at all.  Most do not.  I’ll never forget my department store co-worker who was afraid of the union organizer waiting outside for her.  The supervisor asked that I escort the girl (who was my age).

I distracted the young man while she made a run for her car.  I told him I’d read The Communist Manifesto and knew what he was all about, that he was a Junior Trotskyite.  I saw that she was across the drive and nearing her car.  The Trotskyite must have noticed my eye movement.  He threw up his hands, gave a yell, and chased after her.  She saw him coming, threw up her hands, gave a yell, and ran (in high-heeled shoes) for her car.  She managed to get in her car and shut the door just as he caught up with her.  She revved the engine and backed out of the spot, her tires screeching as the Trotskyite still clung to her car.

Forgive me if I’ve told this story before.  But except for when I threw over my American History grade, I never felt so proud to be an American as I did on that spring night when I was 19.

Congratulations, Michigan!


Published in: on December 11, 2012 at 3:03 pm  Comments (1)  

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  1. My father often argued that unions were having an unnatural influence on the work force. I didn’t know what that all meant as I was not even 10 years old yet but I knew by the force behind his words that he hated unions. As I grew up it became clear to me that union people were gaining an unfair advantage over nonunion people. I was for a short time a member of the U.A.W. I got tired of union people looking over my shoulder and taking notes so I moved on. I have not worked in a union shop since. Today I see that the unions have such a grip on our country that we will never get rid of them but there may be a solution. Join them. Unionize everybody. Everybody from the top right down to the kid who delivers your newspaper. That way everybody would have the same leg up. Obama has said all along that he wants to level the playing field.


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