Michigan Poised to Become a Right-to-Work State

On the heels of two big wins for workplace freedom in Michigan, it looks like the state might be taking an even bigger step: becoming a right-to-work state. There are currently twenty-three right to work states, and the addition of Michigan would be a huge boon for workplace freedom. For a state that has historically been so union-friendly, this could signal a shift toward workplace freedom for American workers. 

In right-to-work states, laborers are free to decide whether or not they wish to join a union. Unions would still have the right to bargain collectively, but unions couldn’t force an employee to retain membership in a union as a condition of employment. This keeps unions accountable to members by allowing members to choose if they do not feel a union has earned his or her membership. It could also be a great boost to Michigan’s struggling economy. “Michigan needs jobs with good, competitive benefits and a salary that can support a family,” said The Mackinac Center’s Labor Policy Director F. Vincent Vernuccio. “Over the last decade, inflation-adjusted compensation in right-to-work states grew nearly 12 percent, compared to just 3 percent in forced unionism states.” Right-to-work tends to mean more opportunity for young workers, higher wages, and lower unemployment because these states are so attractive to businesses. 

It’s possible the measure will be voted upon in the current lame-duck session. “The legislation is already prepared — been prepared for a long time,” House Rep. Mike Shirkey (R) said, “But I will not put it up until I know that all the ‘I’s are dotted and ‘T’s are crossed, primarily from a standpoint of support — both here in the House, and in the Senate and the governor’s office.” It is thought that Governor Rick Snyder, a moderate Republican, would approve the legislation, but his vote is uncertain. The next few weeks in Michigan’s lame-duck session will be interesting to watch, and could change the direction of Michigan’s future. Hopefully, it will shift towards freedom and growth for the Great Lakes State. 

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