AFL-CIO Blog: First, Michigan Guts Democracy. Now Aims for Workers’ Paychecks

-by Tula Connell

July 6, 2011- It’s not enough that Michigan’s Republican Gov. Rick Snyder took away basic democratic rights of cities and towns by imposing a “financial martial law” that can virtually abolish a local government in favor of an unelected Snyder appointee.

Now, extremists in the state are pushing for passage of a so-called right to work law that would limit the ability of the workers to maintain or attain the middle class. A new study by University of Michigan research scientist Roland Zullo illustrates how such a law would be bad economics for working families. Despite supporters’ claims, “right to work” (RTW) is a misnomer—”it has nothing to do with the right of a person to seek and accept gainful employment,” writes Zullo. Further, the law would not fix Michigan’s economic woes.

Like Michigan, nearly every state in the union has lost manufacturing jobs over the last six to eight years… Our economic problems in Michigan are due primarily to the woes in the auto industry, which RTW would not fix. When making location decisions businesses rate factors such as the quality of the regional workforce, the regulatory environment, and tax incentives before ever considering RTW laws.

Further, by limiting membership in unions, the law would cut unions’ ability to act as a bargaining agent for workers. 


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