Michigan prepares to enact right-to-work law

by Walter Olson on December 11, 2012

As lawmakers in Lansing prepare for a vote, unions are training supporters in what is euphemistically called “civil disobedience,” and state troopers are arriving in numbers to counter expected efforts to physically prevent the legislature from accomplishing its intended business. After neighboring Indiana adopted a similar law it saw a surge of incoming business relocation interest. [Detroit News, Free Press, MLive, Jillian Kay Melchior, NR; earlier]

{ 16 comments }

1 Small Government Guy 12.11.12 at 10:07 am

Why do liberals and progressives think that throwing a tantrum worthy of a two year old is a reasonable response to duly passed legislation?

Shut up already…

2 Frank 12.11.12 at 10:35 am

I suppose that question could be answered with another more important and telling: Why do conservatives think dissemination of political dissent through public demonstration is childish?

A philosophy of “Bend over and be quiet while I spank you.” is essentially un-American.

I notice you have no comment on the state bringing in extra armed forces to stifle constitutionally protected speech.

3 Mike 12.11.12 at 10:35 am

Because it can work, especially when there is a Dem/union- friendly press and legislators who are afraid of losing their jobs (conditions prevailing here in New York). The fact that there is a real possibility of violence (remember, a union is involved) makes the tactic more effective.

4 doug 12.11.12 at 10:36 am

They tried in Wisconsin, and failed badly.

5 Gene Schwimmer 12.11.12 at 10:58 am

Exercising one’s free speech means holding public demonstrations in which the demonstrators march, make statements, hold signs, etc. PEACEFULLY making their views known. It does NOT mean physically impeding the passage of legislators AND WORKERS who want to get to their jobs and don’t want to pay union dues – just like anti-abortion demonstrators cannot block access to abortion clinics.

I cannot interfere with your right to speak – and YOU cannot interfere with MY RIGHT TO WORK.

Agreed?

6 Richard Nieporent 12.11.12 at 11:45 am

Frank, I do not believe that “constitutionally protected speech” means what you think it means.

7 Shtetl G 12.11.12 at 12:12 pm

I cannot interfere with your right to speak – and YOU cannot interfere with MY RIGHT TO WORK.

Agreed?
Wrong!

Noble union workers valiantly struggling against the oppression of rich fat cats is democracy in action(much more than any actual vote). They are fighting for the rights of workers and forcibly conscripting union dues from all workers is the only way to do it.

Tea Partiers peacefully rallying for government to reign in spending in the second coming of the KKK and is the true threat to democracy.

I hope you get it now.

8 Black Death 12.11.12 at 12:20 pm

I live in Michigan. In the recent election, the unions put a bunch of pro-union propositions on the ballot. They all lost, mostly by about 60-40. They also targeted Republican House Speaker Jace Bolger – he won reelection narrowly, 51-49. Looks like it’s payback time.

9 Ed 12.11.12 at 1:31 pm

“They are fighting for the rights of workers and forcibly conscripting union dues from all workers is the only way to do it.”
Shtetl G, please read that statement again… One more time… Do you see it?

Allow me to paraphrase. “We have to trample your rights to protect your rights!” or “We’re doing this for your own good.”

10 Ozzie 12.11.12 at 1:32 pm

Shtetl G:
I realized, after reading your post, that I haven’t downloaded the sacrcasm font yet; thanks for the reminder.

11 Chris Hoey 12.11.12 at 4:16 pm

Tearing down occupied tents with knives, punching out reporters, all the while chanting, “Democracy in action,” and shouting expletives does not sound like a peaceful exercise of 1st Amendment rights. A mob is a mob, and needs to be controlled by force commensurate with the force it has shown.

12 Hugo S. Cunningham 12.11.12 at 10:48 pm

@Black Death–

The results were not quite as anti-union as you remember. A lopsidedly pro-union constitutional amendment was rejected, and an admired conservative State supreme court justice survived a union-backed recall campaign. On the other hand, the unions won a referendum to repeal the governor’s emergency manager law, that allow troubled municipalities to modify unsustainable union contracts short of bankruptcy.

Historically, it has been unwise for Great Lakes Republicans to challenge unions this directly. (For the most recent example, check out Ohio.) Gov. Snyder might have done better hoarding his political capital to protect the taxpayers in Detroit’s upcoming insolvency.

13 Hugo S. Cunningham 12.11.12 at 11:03 pm

I share Walter’s irritation with sugar-coated terms like “civil disobedience” and “non-violent” for protests well beyond the “peaceable assembly” protected by the First Amendment. As replacements, how about
(1) “passive-aggressive protest”– protesters do not strike the first blow, but deprive the public of some basic right that can only be regained by force.
(2) “non-shooting protest”– rock-throwers, vandals, looters, and arsonists can still disclaim bloody intentions, but in a less misleading way.

14 OBQuiet 12.11.12 at 11:08 pm

Leave Frank alone!
Free speech includes the assaults on people and property by the union demonstrators that have been recorded. Think of it as performance art. That makes it protected, right?

15 Hugo S. Cunningham 12.12.12 at 8:07 am

@OBQuiet–
The term of art you are looking for is “symbolic speech.”
The jackboot that a stormtrooper puts through a piece of “degenerate art” is equally deserving of respect as the artwork itself.
The “protestors” who seize all the copies of a campus newspaper for destruction are equally deserving of respect as those who composed the newspaper.

16 William Nuesslein 12.12.12 at 10:37 am

I listen to MSNBC and thereby get a lot of claims that Unions lead to higher wages. The idea is that workers and management divide revenue in a zero sum way. But unions as an institution have little to do with improvements in standards of living because they do not make things or provide innovation directly. They do provide socialization of heath care and retirement costs and lower excessive labor competition. While those features lower productivity at the margin, they lead to a more humane workforce and might increase productivity in a macro way.

When unions do raise wages for their members, they do so by capturing increases in productivity. This is what happened when aviation went to larger planes and jet engines. In a free market those gains go to consumers, many of whom are workers in non-aviation industries. And of course people such as pilots make pigs of themselves. When aviation was deregulated, aviation unions were forced into givebacks. Auto workers were caught in the trap of greed and bad Pension regulation where current costs were transferred to future customers – A big time No No in a free market.

With the ACA, Social Security, 401ks, and extensive labor laws, one wonders if unions have any positive social value. That is the real issue. If unions have social value, then all unionized workers should pay for them.

Comments on this entry are closed.