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Original article URL: http://bridgemi.com/2012/12/on-rtw-money-talked-gop-answered/

Peter Luke:
Eye on the Capitol

Insights into the inside workings of Michigan's state government from a veteran newspaper correspondent.

On RTW, money talked, GOP answered

Why is a conservative Republican Legislature enacting a pro-business agenda that breaks the mold by embracing Right to Work laws?

Because the GOP has the votes in the House and Senate to put it on Gov. Rick Snyder’s desk for his signature. Control all three legs of the stool and you can craft law on your terms, if so willing. Said Rep. Harold Haugh, D-Roseville, in a Tweet last Thursday from the House chambers in a locked-down Capitol: “Why are we doing this today? The best answer I can come up with because one party can.”

Well, yes. Yes it can.

Powerful Republican interests in Michigan understand that. The Democratic ones who have been bleeding power for three decades, not so much. You make your own luck, but Republicans have been greatly aided by an opposition party that has worked hard to put itself at a strategic disadvantage when you consider all the effort squandered on failed ballot drives and bad campaigns.

Peter Luke was a Lansing correspondent for Booth Newspapers for nearly 25 years, writing a weekly column for most of that time with a concentration on budget, tax and economic development policy issues. He is a graduate of Central Michigan University.

Republicans, meanwhile, caught a big break in 2010 and have used complete control in the Capitol to rewrite the rule book about how quickly one side can enact the change it wants when it decides to use the power voters have awarded them. A 2012 election that might have given Republicans pause only seems to have emboldened them.

Right to Work rushes to fore

Right to Work legislation has been percolating in West Michigan business circles for half a decade now, but was always thought to be untenable given the detente between labor and big business in Southeast Michigan. Snyder was assumed to side with the view that when labor and management got along in a big industrial state like Michigan, everyone prospered more than when they didn’t.

When he said this issue – which he declared unnecessarily divisive – wasn’t on his agenda, one could logically infer that he opposed it on the grounds that its dubious economic benefits weren’t worth the strife enactment would cause. Support, moreover, deviated from his efforts early on to distance himself from the more confrontational approaches of fellow first-term Republican governors in other Big Ten states.

After issuing his tepid endorsement of fast-tracking lame-duck Right to Work bills last Thursday (at least compared to Speaker Jase Bolger’s robust enthusiasm), the Capitol that candidate Snyder had vowed to fix appeared as broken as ever two years into his first term. Right to Work had been put on the table “whether I wanted it to be there or not,” Snyder passively explained.

Bridge: No easy answer on Right to Work benefits

The more productive approach would have been to use the threat of proposed Right to Work legislation to extract from the public employee unions a host of concessions they appeared to be willing to make — amputation being preferable to death in legislative deal-making.

But that wouldn’t have addressed private sector labor and the contention among business conservatives that Michigan would be more competitive if it could Etch-a-Sketch its reputation as the birthplace of organized labor. That view was ushered into the House when Republicans seized control in 2010 and elected Bolger their leader. It’s a view that would have been unthinkable not so long ago when the Michigan Education Association could count on the bipartisan support of 65-plus members of the Legislature.

As this year’s lame duck session commenced, Senate Republicans, who perhaps have a keener appreciation for political self-preservation, were told by donors to get with the program. Concerns that labor would seek to reverse a Right to Work statute on a 2014 ballot, on which many of them will stand for re-election, were met with assurances that, if they didn’t act, conservatives would go to the ballot themselves.

Ball’s in Democrats’ court now

Republicans will now test what Democrats should well know: Legislative majorities, no matter how large, can evaporate when their preservation is subsumed by the narrower interests of those who write the campaign checks. Whether they pay a political price depends on whether Democrats can turn what should have been a sleepy, incumbent-friendly off-year election into something far bigger. If it wasn’t already clear, Michigan is Exhibit A of what can happen when a blue state in presidential elections turns red in the off-year.

When Democrats turn out their vote, they pick up seats. They gained in the House last month and should have gained more. A Senate tally of 12 seats in 2010 would have been 18 had the chamber been up this year, according to strategist Ed Sarpolus. Snyder’s brand of popular gubernatorial leadership that stressed pragmatic bipartisanship over political warfare has certainly been dented.

Right to Work in Michigan is less about economic development than it is about symbolism, payback and the pursuit of political advantage. How long it remains on the books depends on whether Democrats are sufficiently motivated to view the repeal of it on those terms as well.

39 comments from Bridge readers.Add mine!

  1. James

    “Dubious economic benefits” from Right to Work laws? Really? Virtually all states who have RTW in place are reaping the econopmic benefits, and are in vastly better shape than union-shop states like Michigan.

    Mr. Luke all too clearly reveals his own world-view biases here.

    With the Legislature in Republican hands, the Capitol “appeared as broken as ever…” That’s funny, why don’t I think Luke would have said that if Lansing were in the hands of Democrats?

    “If it wasn’t already clear, Michigan is Exhibit A of what can happen when a blue state in presidential elections turns red in the off-year.” This is a classic bogeyman argument. If the Republicans do something, well, this is “what can happen!” Never mind that the voters themselves put the Republicans into the majority.

    And didn’t you know? All of this is controlled by “Powerful Republican interests!” Ooh, scary!

    Pathetic.

    Those in the press who carry water for the Democratic Party, like Mr. Luke, typically do not address the actual issues. Should the State be a mandatory union shop state? Or a right to work state? What are the pros and cons of each? None of this kind of discussion is taking place here. Instead, it’s all about demonizing the other side, you know, those … wait … who are the people on the other side? Maybe, just maybe, it is the people with ideas and capital who want to start a business and hire people.

    What a crazy thing it would be to create an economic environment to attract those people. After all, they are on the other side.

    1. George

      Absolute nonsense. The right to work states are the poorest states in the Union. Indiaina, contrary to Snyder,
      is flourishing not because of right to work but the unbelievable rise in taxes imposed by the governor of IL to cover all the shortfalls in the budget. Alabama is a right to work state (the fifth poorest state) but it has the highest level of union members among all the Southern states. Yet a 10 year study by the University of Alabama showed that having unions did not negatively effect the business climate. As CBS correctly states: “There is no evidence that right to work improves the economy of a state…..none. This is all irrational “beliefs” that have no basis in reality. I understand a lot of people don’t like what unions have become, but this does not address the issues at all. And your ignorance of the facts only lets the right to work people fool you into thinking they are actually doing something. Do some research and learn the facts.

      1. Jim

        1. Wages in right-to-work states are 3.2% lower than those in non-RTW states, after controlling for a full complement of individual demographic and socioeconomic variables as well as state macroeconomic indicators. Using the average wage in non-RTW states as the base ($22.11), the average full-time, full-year worker in an RTW state makes about $1,500 less annually than a similar worker in a non-RTW state.

        2. The rate of employer-sponsored health insurance (ESI) is 2.6 percentage points lower in RTW states compared with non-RTW states, after controlling for individual, job, and state-level characteristics. If workers in non-RTW states were to receive ESI at this lower rate, 2 million fewer workers nationally would be covered.

        3.The rate of employer-sponsored pensions is 4.8 percentage points lower in RTW states, using the full complement of control variables in [the study's] regression model. If workers in non-RTW states were to receive pensions at this lower rate, 3.8 million fewer workers nationally would have pensions.

        Great for the robber barons, not so good for the workers.

        1. Richard

          Jim,
          I’m with you on the issue. I’d like to know the sources of those statistics so that I have some ammunition for people like James, who make these sweeping generalizations.

    2. Stephen Brown

      Well, I don’t see any data-backed arguments here, just hollow chest-pounding. Show us the data about economic benefits! Otherwise, I’ll just take my business to Mexico. They can almost always beat even a RTW state.

    3. Richard

      James, you make the following general statement “Virtually all states who have RTW in place are reaping the econopmic benefits, and are in vastly better shape than union-shop states like Michigan”, yet I did not see any citing of specific proof of this statement. I would appreciate it if you would please list your evidence (non-biased sources only, please!). Thank you.

    4. jo

      PEOPLEGROUPSDIARIESTAGSLABORCOMICSELECTIONS
      SEARCH TERM
      WED DEC 12, 2012 AT 01:30 PM PST
      Republican billionaires pushed Michigan anti-union law forward with primary threats
      byLaura Clawson
      Email 31 Comments / 31 New
      Reposted from Daily Kos Labor by Laura Clawson
      attribution: Michigan Education Association
      The influence of the Koch brothers, Amway billionaire Dick DeVos, and other far-right big money has been pretty obvious throughout Michigan Republicans’ drive to pass an anti-union law suddenly and quickly and during the lame duck session. If there had been any question, which there wasn’t, the fact that the Michigan law lifts language verbatim from an ALEC model bill should settle the question. No, this was a move that came from the top (of a giant pile of money).
      Not that Michigan Republican leaders, including Gov. Rick Snyder, were opposed to screwing workers by passing a law that typically lowers the average worker’s pay by $1,500 a year. But Snyder had to this point pretended to be a reasonable moderate, and shedding that disguise will have costs for him. Similarly, state Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville had never seemed eager to pick this fight. So, looking at their lame duck turnabout, and the big donors that had always been lurking, it’s not too surprising to see this, reported by Ned Resnikoff:

      Michigan Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat told MSNBC that some of her Republican colleagues complained to her privately that DeVos was twisting their arms over the anti-union legislation.
      “I spoke with someone in Republican leadership who was angry because these heavy-handed tactics were being used with the members,” she said. Republicans told her, she said, that DeVos had “threatened primaries, threatened to spend whatever it takes to beat them if they don’t support these bills.”

      This isn’t even much of an excuse for Richardville, who can’t run for Senate again in 2014 due to term limits, unless he’s looking ahead to statewide office or a congressional seat opening up. But the primary threats, along with whatever other arm-twisting accompanied them, go to show what politicians can expect when an uber-conservative billionaire controls their party and their careers.

  2. Tom

    Let’s not forget that the Governor and the Republican legislature did not have Right to Work on their agenda until after the unions attempted to change the State constitution to enshrine unionization to abusive levels. If you aren’t sure you can win, you shouldn’t pick a fight.. The unions brought this one on themselves.

    Ideally, though, it should make the unions more responsive to their membership, and that’s a good thing for all involved.

    1. James

      “Ideally, though, it should make the unions more responsive to their membership, and that’s a good thing for all involved.”

      Let me know when THAT happens.

      1. SBR

        Here is what will happen within unions: (1) union leaders will quickly know which union members drop out and stop the dues from being withheld from their checks. (2) those union leaders and their henchmen will put pressure on those members dropping out. The harassment will include verbal abuse, shunning, threats, slashed tires in the company parking lot. This is what many unions do; this is how these people operate. Doubt me? Just look at the angry mob in Lansing the last few days.

        Companies and their managers & HR reps (and in some cases, local law enforcement) will be busy trying to deal with the spillover of union hatred in the workplace in the aftermath of this action by the legislature. But the public overall supports it. It will never be overturned by statewide referendum if the libs try. The public finally has had enough of the union bullying, and the unions protecting deadbeats. Ironic timing that RTW becomes law less than a week after a union-loving arbitrator forces Chrsyler to give back jobs to a dozen workers filmed drinking beer while on company time. The public says, “what?, Is this the type of behavior unions fight for?”

    2. dlb

      I love this argument, it is the same thing Snyder said. It seems like telling a rape victim that she asked for it! RTW was “not on the agenda” for repubs before the election because they did not want to lose even more seats to dems. If they had tried to pass this redical legislation before the election, Prop 2 would have one for sure. This radical repub legislature is disgusting.

  3. Al

    Thanks Peter for a good article. All the right to work legislation shows is how big money influences the elections. The Republicans, by passing this the way they have is to show all the state’s working people that they are beholden to big business. Gov. Snyder is right on about this being devisive.The politicans may use the vote on the constitutional admendent but they should stop and thought for awhile. How many voted against the admendent because they didn’t believe that it was right to use the constutition for that purpose? that didn’t mean they supported right to work. This shows how two-faced the conservatives are. They say they believe in everyone paying their own way (or at least putting forth effort. then they turn around and pass this law that says someone can have the same benefits that those who pay for themhave. Free! Free.! Shame , Shame.

  4. T.W.Donnelly

    In your analysis, you avoided naming some of the big funders of this so-called Right to Work legislation.Dick DeVos and the Koch brothers have been infusing loads of campaign funds for the last few election cycles.It appears that candidate Snyder was anointed because he was fresh, naive, projected the One Tough Nerd mask to great effect., and was willing to drinking the Kool-Aid when his masters ordered it. Almost immediately in his term of office, huge shifts of public money was drained from education and social services to be given to corporations, under the guise of job creation.The list of conservative pet projects turned into law grew and grew.

    The Tea Party was not an organic, spring up out of the weeds of frustated tax payers kind of event. It was born of Koch dollars spent on organization and development of the Tea Party. The TEA Party was nurtured by campaign contributions to carefully chosen candidates who were pliable enough to shape into the drones that Koch/DeVos wanted.The circus of advertising dollars spent on these right-wing idealogues was over the top.

    So Snyder was the Manchurian candidate, groomed and programmed to respond to a phone call or other trigger to have this “change of heart” on RTW bills. The Kochs and Dick DeVos must be enjoying all this turmoil that Snyder has stirred up. Snyder is taking the heat, but he is only the puppet drone of the moneyed crowd.

    The days of two political parties selecting candidates of merit are long gone, replaced with Etch-A-Sketch chameleon shape-shifters whose strings stretch to Ada and New York. Michigan is the petri dish of the wealthy, an experiment gone horribly wrong.

  5. DWhyte

    I’m disgusted with Rick Snyder. I actually contributed to his campaign because I was stupid enough to believe what he said about good governance and trying to do what is right, bring people together, and not be focused on narrow, divisive partisan agendas. After seeing women prevented from testifying in hearings, and being kicked out of the capitol this summer, and now this, I’ll be writing a check to the recall campaigns, and the Democrats in 2014. This is a pathetic case of political pandering to powerful moneyed interests (by someone who has enough money of his own that he should be able to stand above it) and we can only hope that he will discover that two years is not long enough to run away from his cowardice.

    1. George

      I agree totally. Snyder had my vote because he wasn’t divisive. This legislation is totally unnecessary and just gets people divided. It does nothing to stop unions…..nothing. Studies has shown that when a state goes right to work, union membership drops at first and then rebounds. Why? Imagine the peer pressure when your fellow workers find out you are reaping the benefits of a union but are not paying dues? In addition, there is federal law guaranteeing the right to organize. That’s why Alabama, a right to work state, has more union members than any other right to work state…..they organized. The author was correct: they should have used the threat of right to work to get concessions. Now they have nothing.

    2. Duane

      It is interesting that you Blame Snyder and ignore that when Snyder ask the Unions not to out Proposal 2 on the ballot for fear of this outcome they at best dismissed him and his concerns and simply force the issue.

      The Unions seem not to consider that there are reactions to thier actions.

      I understand it is convenient to place all of this on Snyder, but in reality it was not on the legislative agenda until Proposal 2. If we consider the voting on Proposal 2, as many politicians do, then that would suggest the voters were no pleased/comfortabe/in support of the Union position. That being the case why should we be surprise or even disappointed in these actions in Lansing.

  6. Graydon DeCamp

    Peter,
    Yes, money talks, and politicians listen. Just the way Democrats listened when union money talked about Chrysler and GM: The Democrats obediently threw out the rule of law that defines our culture and then spent BILLIONS of us taxpayers’ money in order to reward the union by GIVING them 67% of Chrysler and 17% of GM. The money spent to “buy” the RTW legislation was a drop in the bucket by comparison, and it came from people who, having earned it, were free to choose how to spend it. Funny, but I don’t remember reading your last column about that.

  7. Al

    Can anyone tell me who in Michigan or the United States is forced to join a union. This is simply not true. How many jobs in this state and country have always been non-union? Most jobs are in smaller businesses and most are non-union so why does a minority of people get their way.Why do they want, what other have paid for or are paying for at this time. Look at the total numbers of businesses in Michigan and then see how many have unions? I’m not even saying whether it is right or wrong for anyone one to workm anywhere. I’m saying it is wrong for the state to say you are entitled to the same benefits that others have and are still paying for. If you don’t pay you don’t have any rightss to the benefits.

    1. Max

      “if you don’t pay you don’t have any right to the benefits”, Seriously! Why don’t we apply your theory to taxes.

    2. Graydon DeCamp

      Seems you’ve never worked in a union shop. Even if you have, then you surely realize that the issue isn’t being forced to JOIN a union, but forced to PAY a union so it can support political ends and candidates you don’t. Interesting to note how many Wisconsin public-sector union members chose to stop paying dues when the state supported their right to resist. Nothing speaks more clearly than that.

      1. SBR

        You are exactly right Graydon. Every union contract that I have seen has this clause: “the company will employ only those persons who are in good standing with the union.” Unions have always required this statement, or there is no deal. This means that until RTW goes into effect, employees are FORCED to join the union (and pay dues). Technically, it means the union can get a renegade member fired from the company by declaring that person “not in good standing.” This is part of the union coersion to keep their people in line. Sounds like real freedom, eh? Try getting a spot on the union committee and supporting a position contrary to the union line…see how long your “good standing” (and job) will last.

        There has been some growth in Michigan despite the poor state of labor relations; mostly tied to current infrastructure whereby it makes sense to be in Michigan. But given a choice, most businesses looking to build new facilities will look elsewhere if they can. Unions have done so much damage to so many workplaces in Michigan (including schools), The reputation in Michigan has been established.

  8. Greg Laycock

    The advocates of Right To Work usually use economic arguments and I think they are more valid than you think. However, I have advocated Right to Work for different reasons. The macro-economic arguments obscure the fact that RTW also benefits workers, in two ways. First, it helps workers who are harmed by union membership (in my case it has cost me many tens of thousands of dollars) and second it helps workers who want to be in unions because it democratizes unions. In a compulsory union workplace, the union leadership need not heed the rank and file and the agenda of the union diverges from the agenda of the workers the union claims to represent. RTW makes the agendas converge. Mr. Luke, you need to take the unions to task for their dishonesty. RTW does not prevent collective bargaining. Unions operate and bargain collectively in all RTW states. The unions are afraid of how RTW benefits the workers, allowing workers who are harmed to leave and allowing workers who stay to get the union leadership to actually pay attention to their workplace issues.

  9. Al

    Mr. Decamp, Can you show me where the union got 17% of GM?

  10. Dave Friedrichs

    Correcting the misinterpretations (or shallow understanding) of “James”, Peter Luke’s comments are basically accurate. Eight of the bottom ten (LOWEST) wage earning states in the country are RTW (also trending smaller in population) — whereas seven of the highest ten wage earning (and larger) states are non-RTW. Thus, when an advocate of RTW cites higher percentage gains in wages (and employment) in RTW states vis-a-vis non-RTW states, he or she is comparing apples-to-oranges — either to intentionally mislead or out of misunderstanding of the basis of the statistics he or she cites.
    By adopting RTW, average per hour wages (and benefits) in Michigan can rightfully be forecast to reduce. Does this matter? Will more hours per week make the gross take home higher for “James”, his children or grandchildren. Perhaps he’s not an hourly worker or has a specialty insulated from “averages”. The tax reform that Snyder had already promulgated and the GREAT natural resource and locational advantages of Michigan had set the stage for real 21st century growth, as I see it. Shoulders to the wheel, not sand in the face

  11. John Hargenrader

    RTW does seem to be a political issue for the GOP. However, this legislation will not impact the Michigan economy.

    It’s not wages nor benefits being too high. Michiganders have left to take lower paying jobs in other states.

    After the GOP controlled Legislature failed to address the business issues of taxation, such as property taxes, they toss a blame arrow at labor.

    Walmart and McDonalds don’t have a labor shortage. And they do fine in Michigan. Most small shops in Michigan are non-union.

    Magna, the largest Employer in Brighton, MI closed it’s plant because of property taxes.

  12. Chuck

    No one should be FORCED to join a union in order to get or hold a job! FORCED Unionism is immoral! Polls show that 80% of the public support Workplace Freedom, so it is not only Republicans!

  13. Mike R

    I commend the contributors to this discussion for its relatively high tone and attempts at factual accuracy (with the exception of James, whose sole mission appears to be the spread of disinformation and sarcasm). Whichever side one is on, we should all be able to agree that it’s a sad day for democracy in Michigan the way this monumental change in the entire culture and history of a state is being forced on We The People in a way specifically designed to leave us out of the process.

    1. Duane

      I am not clear on how we are being left out of the process. Didn’t we have a UNoin Proposal (2) on the ballot and didn;t the voters reject (by a significant margin), don’t we havea representative governement and didn’t we vote for the Legislators and Governor?

      In any case it seems this is simply a change of process not an elimination of rights. For if the Unions are providing value for the dues members will want to join, if they are not providing value then they may chose not to join. That seems similar to how each of use gets to chose how we spend our money (except for the taxes we pay). If an a company does not provide sufficient or better value then we go where we can get better value.

      In the case of Unions, since they provide no value to the employers the choice is left up to the members and their choice of where the get the best value. If anythihng it seems this change in process has provided more choices to the employees and gives them more say in the process.

      What am I missing in how this change has occurred excluded us from the process?

      expect

  14. Sue Harvey

    Betsy DeVos quote ” I know a little something about soft money, as my family is the single largest contributor to the Republican party. I have decided however to stop taking offense at the suggestion that we are buying influence. Now I simply concede the point. They are right. We do expect something in return.”
    My concern is, no matter how much you agree or disagree with RTW, this legislative action and all the gimmicks attached ( like attaching an appropriation bill so it can’t be overturned, exemption for police and fire, most speed I’ve ever seen! ) foretells who really is in charge of this state. There’s a big education bill in front of the legislators now. It’s another pet project of the DeVos family. Our tax dollars and school facilities being sold to private companies to educate kids. Local control would perhaps be gone. Rep Lisa Lyons is spearheading this. Too much hurry up going on…… Since they seem able to really get a move on Maybe we should look to changing our constitution to make this a part-time legislature. It works in other states.

    1. James

      A more honest comment would have included the entire quote:

      “”[M]y family is the largest single contributor of soft money to the national Republican party…. I have decided, however, to stop taking offense at the suggestion that we are buying influence. Now, I simply concede the point. We expect to foster a conservative governing philosophy consisting of limited government and respect for traditional American virtues. We expect a return on our investment; we expect a good and honest government. Furthermore, we expect the Republican party to use the money to promote these policies, and yes, to win elections.”

      The “return on investment” is to promote “limited government and respect for traditional American virtues,” and “a good and honest government.” For some people, apparently those values are awful, just awful. Perhaps they would prefer something more like … Detroit.

      1. David Waymire

        Or something more like metropolitan Grand Rapids, which ranks 52nd in per capita income out of the 54 major metros of 1 million or more…

        1. James

          Apples and oranges. Virtually all of the other metro areas have higher costs of living. By contrast, Grand Rapids, can provide a quality lifestyle without the burden of, for example, very high housing costs. See, for example, New York.

  15. James

    Here is a good analysis of this entire issue:

    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.

    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 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.

    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.

  16. Matt

    There are only two things that we can say with much certainty regarding RTW. Either the unions are doing a lousy job representing their customers/members and given the choice and seeing the lack of value will rightly leave in droves OR the Union crowd in Lansing is making a mountain out of a mole hill for some nonsense political reason. It’s that simple!

  17. Jerry Kabel

    Too bad for Gov. Snyder. RTW will wreck the coalition he was building to push the state’s economy. Now we have turmoil instead of a united march to a common goal. Snyder could have preserved his stature and his recovery campaign by simply advocating that the RTW be decided in a referendum. that would have kept him above the fray. By the way, I think Bridge has done an excellect job of defining the issue.

  18. Duane

    Mr. Luke is consistent in his reporting by excluding the context of events. As I recall Governor Snyder was saying RTW was not on his agenda prior to the Unions forcing the issue of labor contracts with Proposal 2. That Governor Snyder had ask the Unoins not to force the issue before they have their petition drive, before the voters overwhelming rejected the Union Proposal, and before the Unionns show their willingness to over-term many long standing State laws.

    By leaving that out it seems Mr. Luke is painting a rather one sided view of recent events. It would seem that the Unions lack of consideration ofr Governor Snyder’s request, lack of interest in looking for alternative ways working with the Governor and Businesss organizations, and to ignore the potential of such a response to their actions would seems to be information that would be worth mentioning to voter as the establish their views on recent events. Though I do understand that that part of the context may influence how people view the change in the Governor’s postion on the RTW issue and his actions.

    The reality of Lansing politics seems to be the reality of life, when making choices you shold consider the potential consequences and be willing to live with what they turn out to be.

    It seems neither Mr. Luke nor the Unions want there to be unpleasent consequences to their choices.

  19. JAL4

    State Rep. Lisa Posthumus Lyons tried to exempt husband from right-to-work law

    http://www.mlive.com/news/grand-rapids/index.ssf/2012/12/state_rep_lisa_posthumus_lyons.html

    Why are police and fire exempt? Looking forward to the article coming next week from The Bridge about this.

    Why would Posthumus want her spouse exempt? Either it’s good for everyone or it’s not, can’t have it both ways.

  20. Chuck Jordan

    First we had deregulation, outsourcing, Nafta, and trickle down economics leading to the crash of 2008. We should have learned something from that. We have also seen a decrease in the Earned Income Credit. We had an attack on pensions and health benefits culminating in attacks on public sector pensions and health benefits. That lead to the probably misguided Prop 2 that would have put collective bargaining into the constitution. Then we had taking money from education and given to businesses. Now we have “right to work” legislation. You could say that unions and fair wages caused the Governor to support “right to work,” but unions, pensions, and benefits have been under attack for a while.
    So now we have more people working for minimum wage without pensions and benefits. In a manufacturing economy with lots of decent jobs, maybe folks could work enough part time jobs to survive. But now in our new “consumer economy” people have to have enough money to buy the goods and services. Maybe now more businesses will move to Michigan, but will wages go up or continue to be stagnant? My guss is that it will only lead to more peo;le in need of Food Stamps and govenment aid, which by the way now goes mroe to those right to work states than non right to work states. Of course republicans want to cut government aid too, so we are bound to see more and more poverty and homelessness. Welcome to the new Michigan. Sorry I can’t edit this post because I can’t see what I’m typing for some reason.

  21. Chuck Jordan

    I should have broken the post into 2, so I could see what I was typing and edit. Sorry. I would have added globalization that has led to this new normal economy where we are competing against people working for dollars a week. I would have added how the Earned Income Credit rewards work as oppposed to welfare. I would have added how democrats are just as responsible for this new normal economy. I would have added how sensible it is to cut pensions and create 401ks that put money into the market which benefits corporations. I would have added how most of the jobs being created now are part time, minimum wage jobs. I would have added how most of the jobs people have now are part time including the new just in time scheduling that makes it impossible for people to budget. I would have added how lack of health care and child care makes it nearly impossible for low wage employees to be successful. I would have added how right to work, mostly southern states get a larger share of Federal aid. I would have told about my brother in South Carolina who works full time and a part time job, but can’t afford health insurance for his 3 young kids. Maybe right work will bring jobs to Michigan. We need to watch more carefully at how right work affects wages and standard of living.

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