# Michigan Passes Right to Work Law

Discussion in 'Politics' started by madanthonywayne, Dec 12, 2012.

1. ### madanthonywayneMorning in AmericaRegistered Senior Member

Messages:
12,461
In a surprise move the Republican dominated state government in Michigan has passed a right to work law. What is a right to work law? It means that unions in Michigan will no longer be able to force employees to pay union dues. Workers are still free to choose to join the union and pay dues, but they will no longer be forced to do so.
How did this happen in Michigan of all places? The state that gave birth to the UAW? A state that Obama carried by 10 points?
I think we are seeing the beginning of the Republican strategy for the next four years. After absorbing a crushing defeat at the national level, they will take the battle to the states. Republicans currently have complete control of 24 state governments (control of both houses and the governorship) whereas the Democrates control only 13. (the rest have divided government).

Obamacare represents another front in that battle. Thus far just 13 states have formally declared their intention to set up insurance exchanges (the "deadline" for doing so is December 14 which is in two days). Interestingly, if a lawsuit filed by the state of Oklahoma is successful, Obamacare may be largely nullified in states that do not set up an insurance exchange:

3. ### Crunchy CatF-in' *meow* baby!!!Valued Senior Member

Messages:
8,423
One has to wonder what exactly Republicans are "fighting for" when they want to eliminate these results:

"A February 2011 Economic Policy Institute study found:[25]
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.
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.
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."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Right-to-work_law

5. ### madanthonywayneMorning in AmericaRegistered Senior Member

Messages:
12,461
Perhaps they were influenced by the fact that Indiana, the first rust belt state to pass a right to work law, was significantly outperforming Michigan:

Or maybe it's just support for basic fairness. Why should anyone be forced to join a union? If they're so great, the workers should join them freely without the threat of being fired if they fail to do so.

7. ### Crunchy CatF-in' *meow* baby!!!Valued Senior Member

Messages:
8,423
You are defining "outperforming" as the number of jobs added (which is a little disingenous). I do agree that quantity of jobs has its place but when it sacrafices "quality" (and it does by the numbers I showed) it becomes a problem. If everyone joins in on the sacrificial band wagon then the economy may end up as one with high employement and high poverty, which is unhealthy because poor people can't afford to buy things. If that kind of economy is sustained for too long then the high employment would disappear due to lack of sales. Low employment, high poverty, and possible societal collapse would likely follow.

Fariness means "getting your way". It's utterly irrelevant.

This argument I agree with in the context of Freedom (and I really do despise a lot of things unions do), but I value loyalty more than freedom because without it, you cannot provide an environment to be free in nor can you enforce freedom. I'll explain. If unions are completely eliminated but there is nothing in place to deal with the resulting quality issue (not to mention any issue that unions actually fixed when they were around), then those problems will turn into an unhealthy economy... which if sustained can lead to soceital collapse (and say goodbye to freedom if that ever happens). To me that is the highest form of disloyalty, a pure and utter destruction of America. It's really about as unpatriotic as you can get and amounts to something far worse than terrorism.

8. ### TiassaLet us not launch the boat ...Staff Member

Messages:
36,835
Right to Work vs. Reality

I think back to the vote on the PPACA, when Republicans were complaining about the pace at which the bill progressed. Too fast, nobody had time to read it all, there wasn't enough debate ....

The period between Gov. Snyder holding a press conference announcing he would support a bill, and the passage of the bill in both houses of the Michigan legislature? Nine hours.

Okay, we get it. All that stuff back during the PPACA vote was just more of that classic conservative lack of personal integrity.

To the other, this is a political revenge bill. We should not be surprised. After all, they're conservatives.

Economist Gordon Lafer noted, earlier this year:

Right-to-work laws do not have anything to do with people being forced to join a union or pay dues for political causes they do not support. Federal law already guarantees that no one can be forced to join a union, and no one can be required to pay union dues that fund political causes they oppose.

What is permitted under federal law is for a group of employees to propose— and if their employer agrees, to write into a contract—the provision that all employees who benefit from the terms of a union contract are required to pay their fair share of the costs of administering that contract. Right-to-work laws make it illegal for employees and employers to negotiate such a contract. By making it harder for workers’ organizations to sustain themselves financially, right-to-work laws aim to weaken unions’ bargaining strength.

Interestingly, this is an occasion when Republicans want to use government to ensure that some people get something for nothing. In the end, this isn't about helping any workers anywhere; it's about castrating unions. Lafer's paper considered the move to make Indiana a right-to-work state:

The goal of right-to-work laws is to lower wages in hopes of luring outside manufacturers to the state. As the Indiana Chamber of Commerce report explains, “unionization increases labor costs,” and therefore “makes a given location a less attractive place to invest new capital resources” (Vedder et al. 2011, 6). But in the age of globalization, the strategy of attracting employers by cutting one’s own wages is a race to the bottom. Recognizing this, most state economic development officials now focus on attracting higher-tech, higher-wage companies providing jobs that can support local families and that are less likely to be shipped abroad. Such companies overwhelmingly favor strong union states, because those states tend to have higher skilled workers, lower turnover, and superior education and digital infrastructure (Atkinson and Andes 2010).

As for the employment picture in RTW states, Lafer offers a couple visual aides:

Top: Indiana, as a union state, enjoyed better growth than neighboring RTW states.
Bottom: RTW, compared to union rights, did nothing to alleviate job losses attributed to NAFTA.
(Gordon Lafer/Economic Policy Institute)

More from Lafer:

Generally, RTW advocates argue that the average growth rate for the 22 states with RTW laws, taken as a whole, is higher than the average growth in the 28 free-bargaining states. By implication, they have argued that right-to-work laws are the cause of economic growth, that right-to-work states inevitably perform better than others, and that if a new state adopts such a law, its economy will grow at the same rate as the 22-state average. None of this is true. Whether measuring wages, job growth or unemployment rates, the actual state-by-state data show that there is no relationship between RTW laws and economic growth.

The only honest way to measure the effect of RTW is to separate out its impact from everything else. How much of Texas’ growth is due to warm weather, the oil industry, NASA, or migration from Mexico? Conducting measurements while holding everything else equal is called “regression analysis” in statistics, and it’s required for any article published in an academic journal. It is also what courts use to distinguish evidence admissible in lawsuits from what is termed “junk science.” The numbers provided by ALEC, the National Right to Work Committee, and other advocacy groups fail this most basic test; they hold nothing equal and simply assume that RTW explains growth.

• • •​

The most instructive lesson for Indiana is what has happened in Oklahoma—the only state to newly adopt RTW in the era of globalization. When Oklahoma was debating RTW in 2001, supporters insisted that it would dramatically improve the state’s job growth. One of the most widely circulated claims came from a site location consultant who told the state Senate that many companies won’t even consider locating in states without RTW laws, insisting that the absence of such a law was cutting Oklahoma off from “90 percent of the relocating companies.” The number of companies considering locating in Oklahoma would increase by “eight to ten times” if right to work were passed, he said (May 2001). Then-Governor Frank Keating echoed this assertion, insisting, “if we don’t pursue right to work, we are redlined” (Levy 2001).

Though no data were ever presented to substantiate these claims, they were widely publicized and doubtless influential in legislators’ thinking about the issue. One of the groups that played a leading role in touting the job-creation powers of RTW was the Oklahoma Council on Public Affairs (OCPA), which is not actually a public organization but a private, anti-union advocacy group. OCPA’s widely circulated 2001 study repeated the claim that RTW would significantly increase the number of new companies coming into the state, and would increase growth in manufacturing jobs (Reed 2001). These claims, in turn, were frequently repeated by the National Right to Work Committee (Monies 2003; Greer 2005, 2007).

None of those predictions came true.

The facts—which come straight from the state and federal government and are now uncontested by any party, are:

• In the 10 years since the law was passed, the number of new companies coming into the state has decreased by one-third (Oklahoma Department of Commerce 2011). Indeed, the same two OCPA staff analysts who authored the most recent RTW study—Moody and Warcholik—also published a 2010 article showing that Oklahoma has suffered a net out-migration of jobs to other states.

• In the 10 years since Oklahoma adopted its right-to-work law, the number of manufacturing jobs in the state has fallen by one-third (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 2011).​

This evidence suggests that RTW was not an economic windfall for the state, but is not conclusive since other factors have also impacted job growth over this period. A more careful analysis (Lafer and Allegretto 2011) comparing Oklahoma to its neighboring states to control for other trends found that “[t]he adoption of right-to-work in Oklahoma had no significant positive impact whatsoever on employment.”

Rather than apologizing to Oklahoma legislators who may have been misled by their earlier predictions, OCPA recently released a new study aimed at convincing Indiana lawmakers that Oklahoma’s RTW law was a success. In pursuit of this goal, OCPA has completely revised its definition of success.

In its most recent report, OCPA admits that “manufacturing is lower today than it was before RTW” but insists that RTW doesn’t have to create jobs to be successful. Instead, all that matters is manufacturing GDP, or the value of sales created by the state’s manufacturing industries, OCPA says (Moody and Warcholik 2011). This argument makes no economic sense. A higher dollar-value of manufacturing sales only helps the population at large if it translates into more jobs or higher wages, which OCPA admits is not the case.

In the face of such daunting facts, OCPA offers a novel take on RTW’s failure to produce jobs. The law, the report asserts, has helped boost productivity—meaning that fewer people are needed to produce the same quantity of goods. This is a boon to Oklahomans because it “frees scarce labor to pursue other economic activities” (Moody and Warcholik 2011).

Lafer's analysis ranges widely, but the facts he presents really don't seem to have much value in RTW circles.

It's worth noting one other thing about the politics of all this: Michigan's RTW law is ALEC legislation

(Brendan Fischer/ALEC Exposed)

This is important to bear in mind, since, as Lafer notes:

The American Legislative Exchange Council’s Rich States, Poor States report contains a state-by-state ranking of “economic outlook” based on 15 policies on ALEC’s political agenda, including RTW. But employers say ALEC focuses on the wrong things. Every year, Area Development magazine asks employers to identify the most important factors that determine their location decisions. In 2010, only one of ALEC’s 15 policies (corporate taxes) was included in the top 10; RTW was ranked 16th (Area Development 2011).

For higher-tech, higher-wage firms, the State New Economy Index ranks states according to their favorability for “new economy” employers, using 26 separate factors to measure state economies. Not one of ALEC’s policies is included on this list (Atkinson and Andes 2010).

In the end, RTW legislation has no economic credibility. Its result is lower wages for workers. The Michigan law is simply political revenge, a deliberate attempt to hurt workers and undermine political opposition. It is a measure of revenge against unions unsettled by events in other midwest states:

Gov. Rick Snyder said Thursday he does not think right-to-work legislation would be on the verge of passage in Michigan if unions had not pushed Proposal 2, their ballot measure that went down to defeat during the Nov. 6 election.

The Republican governor said that earlier this year he asked labor leaders to back down from pursuing the drive to lock collective bargaining into the state constitution and block any potential right-to-work law.

(Eggert)

And there you have it.

Of the 10 states with the highest per-capita incomes, for example, only one is a right-to-work state, and just three of the top 20 are. On average, right-to-work states have per-capita incomes that trail union states by more than \$5,000.

Right-to-work advocates always claim their states are creating more jobs than union states — which holds some truth, if you just look at the sheer number of jobs created.

But of the 11 states with the fastest-growing economies as measured by gross domestic product, only three were right-to-work states in 2011. (Michigan was on that list in 2011, too, which Snyder spent all year this year bragging about. Now, suddenly, he claims our economy is being hobbled by an oppressive union environment.)

As a result, right-to-work states also suffer much worse poverty than union states, by several important measures.

Eight of the 10 states with the lowest overall per-capita incomes are right-to-work. And among the states with the highest rates of people without medical insurance (a sign of the quality of jobs available), seven of 10 are right-to-work. Eight of the 10 states with the highest poverty rates are right-to-work.

This is what Michigan Republicans want. Stephen Henderson of the Detroit Free Press considers those numbers and wonders, "Why would Michigan want to emulate those states?"

And the answer is simple: Conservatives want to emulate those states. It's not actually about helping workers. Rather, they are aiming to cut off workers' noses to spite unions. After all, unions and union members tend to support labor-friendly policies—i.e., policies that conservatives don't like. You know, the kinds of policies that don't help realize oligarchic and neo-feudal concentrations of wealth and political power.

And, you know, it's almost kind of funny. Over on MSNBC, Rachel Maddow and her team have repeatedly pointed out that Republicans didn't campaign on this issue this year; Ed Schultz lamented that Gov. Walker, in Wisconsin, didn't run on a union-busting platform, or Gov. Kasich in Ohio. But here's the thing: There is no point in acting surprised. This is what happens when you elect Republicans. One would think voters could figure that out by now. It was 2010 when Republicans made tremendous state-level gains running on economic policy, and then got right to work in the new session writing anti-abortion laws. This is what happens when you elect people whose idea of improving society means hurting as many people as possible.

And some might even remember that in two years, when Snyder's term is up.
____________________

Notes:

Lafer, Gordon. "Working hard to make Indiana look bad". Economic Policy Institute. January 3, 2012. EPI.org. December 11, 2012. http://www.epi.org/publication/working-hard-indiana-bad-tortured-uphill/

Fischer, Brendan. "Michigan Passes 'Right to Work' Containing Verbatim Language from ALEC Model Bill". PR Watch. December 11, 2012. PRWatch.org. December 11, 2012. http://www.prwatch.org/news/2012/12...-containing-verbatim-language-alec-model-bill

Eggert, David. "How right to work got on Gov. Snyder's radar: He blames Proposal 2". MLive. December 6, 2012. MLive.com. December 11, 2012. http://www.mlive.com/politics/index.ssf/2012/12/gov_snyder_right-to-work_law_w.html

Henderson, Stephen. "Do the math: Right-to-work makes absolutely no sense for Michigan". Detroit Free Press. December 7, 2012. Freep.com. December 11, 2012. http://www.freep.com/article/20121206/COL33/312060264

Last edited: Dec 12, 2012
9. ### CarcanoValued Senior Member

Messages:
6,865
The best example to follow in labour relations was set by Germany after WWII...now the wealthiest nation in Europe.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Co-determination#German_Mitbestimmung

"The German model of co-determination is unique. Formulated at the end of World War II, it was applied first in the coal and steel industries of West Germany following the war and gradually expanded to other sectors.

Within the framework of the 1976 reform, the government broadened the laws' applicability to all firms throughout the German economy employing more than 2,000 workers. The German co-determination law forms part of the bedrock of German industrial and company policy. It requires that just under half of companies' supervisory boards' members are representatives of workers.

Shareholders and trade unions elect members of a supervisory board (Aufsichtsrat). The chairman of the supervisory board is always a shareholder representative under German law. The supervisory board is meant to set the company's general agenda. The supervisory board then elects a management board (Vorstand), which is actually charged with the day to day running of the company."

10. ### clusteringfluxVersion 1. OH!Valued Senior Member

Messages:
2,766
And yet people aren't running in packs to Non-RTW states. In fact many people can't get out of unionized Michigan fast enough..Perhaps less compensation is better than none at all.
Markets change and the unions still operate in a system based on competition so the only surprise is that it happened so quickly and without issue.

11. ### ElectricFetusSanity going, going, goneValued Senior Member

Messages:
18,523
This is the internet age, can't unions function online on voluntary or no fees? If employees under an employee feel subjugated they can still pseudo-unionize, aka walmart black Friday strike unions of factory labor our dying not simply because conservatives are trying to kill source of democratic funding but because we American's can't compete with the near slave labor jobs in Asia or with ever encroaching automation. There are jobs were foreign labor and automation had made little progress though and that is in the physical services, until the day robots are cheaper then labors at stocking shelves, waiting tables and answering questions at a front desk, humans can still do those jobs, and that is were organize labor can survive. Unions have got to shift away into the service sectors and provide protection for near free.

12. ### Crunchy CatF-in' *meow* baby!!!Valued Senior Member

Messages:
8,423
Non-sequiteur. People don't really run in packs for anything aside from entering or escaping war zones.

I know there is evidence behind that claim... right? It should at the very least contradict the 10k folks who protested.

Straw man or just lying. Have you not read what's been posted above?: "...right-to-work states also suffer much worse poverty than union states,..."

Capitalism is based on competition despite how markets change. It is a surprise that it happened so quickly but considering the protests it certainly wasn't without issue.

I wonder how long local governments who hate Americans will last?

Last edited: Dec 12, 2012
13. ### Crunchy CatF-in' *meow* baby!!!Valued Senior Member

Messages:
8,423
It's an unfortunate fact of reality that protection for free means protection without resources (against people who have great resources in this case).

14. ### ElectricFetusSanity going, going, goneValued Senior Member

Messages:
18,523
Quite true but its a foot in the door means for organizing labor: once organized they may be willing to pay for lawyers and legal fees when their battle is taken to the courts. The service corporations have done a great job propagandizing there highly uneducated labor force into apathy for unions, and considering how little pay they get now how are they to pay the union fees anyways, but a non-profit organization is harder to demonize and won't take what little money these people have.

15. ### Crunchy CatF-in' *meow* baby!!!Valued Senior Member

Messages:
8,423
I do like the idea of non-profits simply because they by default operate as services for-*something* other than money... which in this case is people. It also cuts them off from being special interest groups buying politicians. Of course, non-profits have not historically scaled well so that might limit their effectiveness. There may be a simpler solution however. I see the biggest issue concerning our economic health being a lack of wealth sharing with employees. Quite often the vast majority of a company's profits are divied up between shareholders and executives. Employees are seen as an expense that need to be constantly minimized. This happens because of the way business is modeled in the U.S.. It's geared towards the short term profit of a few with little or no regard for people / health / sustainability. Why not use both positive incentive and negative consequence to make companies *want* to share more profit with employees? Accomplish that and the desire for unions is elminated.

16. ### clusteringfluxVersion 1. OH!Valued Senior Member

Messages:
2,766
This isn't a high school debate. It's real life where we live. Michigan has lost around 500,000 people since 2000. One report suggests another family leaves every 12 minutes. They're Bull dozing huge sections of Detroit (UAW ground zero)for FARM Land.
I believe Michigan LEAD the country in migration (which IS slowing at least).

Besides these unions truck people in for these rallies, so who knows what kind of representation that was.

17. ### Crunchy CatF-in' *meow* baby!!!Valued Senior Member

Messages:
8,423
You are changing the goalposts. Your claim was based on "unionized michigan". Now it looks like you implying that the fall of Detroit was due to unions? History disagrees:

http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2012/06/11/detroit-deforce-michigan

While unions certainly *could* bring in outside-state support for rallies, considering how fast this leigslature was proposed and passed, I strongly doubt anyone had any time to even remotely come close to coordinating that.

18. ### clusteringfluxVersion 1. OH!Valued Senior Member

Messages:
2,766
No, I'm saying Michigan's economy is in a horrific condition in spite of strong unions and people are understandably ready to try something new.

19. ### Crunchy CatF-in' *meow* baby!!!Valued Senior Member

Messages:
8,423
That is a statement I could agree with (mostly). Making Michigan a RTW state had nothing to do with the people in this case. As Tiassa pointed out it was a political strategy for one party to weaken another by removing a source of funding (which came at the cost of the people).

20. ### clusteringfluxVersion 1. OH!Valued Senior Member

Messages:
2,766
Then perhaps I should add that MI suffers also in spite of the Democratic leadership of the last decade. How does any of this translate to being "at the cost of the people" ? If the path of the past has led downward, are you suggesting that the decline will now somehow be faster because of RTW?..It's possible, but I don't think there is much evidence to support that.

21. ### Captain KremmenAll aboard, me Hearties!Valued Senior Member

Messages:
12,738
Why is it called a right to work law, not a restriction of Union power law.
Are they ashamed of their intent?

22. ### Crunchy CatF-in' *meow* baby!!!Valued Senior Member

Messages:
8,423
Republican and democratic leadership are both bought and paid for by special interests. It really doesn't matter who leads, it won't be for the people most of the time. The only real difference I have noted is that the special interests that republican's tend to cater to tend to be more destructive.

The numbers that Tiassa and I posted showed that people in RTW states earn less money. The numbers that Tiassa showed that RTW states have higher poverty and possibly higher employment. If everyone is poor but employed then what you get is a really unhealthy economy, until the poor people can't afford to buy things. Then you are stuck with low employment and high poverty. That is what I mean by "at the cost of the people".

23. ### AsguardKiss my dark sideValued Senior Member

Messages:
23,049

Don't you mean it should be called "right to get screwed at work law"?

But the reason is the same reason similar BAD legislation in Australia was called "work choices" instead of "lack of work choices" or "you WILL do WHATEVER your boss says even if it means leaving you baby without supervision because if you don't they can fire you choices"

Collective bargaining is a RIGHT that is in place to protect workers who have little power as inderviduals from corperations with MASSIVE amounts of power and apsolutly no morals