Michigan became a “right to work” state recently – albeit under unusual circumstances and amid controversy – and there has been a lot of debate over this legislation. Basically, right-to-work laws prohibit contracts between companies and unions which require all workers to pay the union for bargaining on their behalf.
Rather than giving personal opinion, I decided to poll people at my Linkedin account and asked for their opinion. The one-question poll ran for 30 days after the law was passed and garnered 75 responses. Although this was not a large sampling, it brought out some very interesting comments from respondents – proving that it is an emotional and volatile issue.
The results were surprisingly lopsided and were not reflected in the comments. Here is the question, answers, and comments.
The Michigan legislature has just made Michigan a “right to work” state. What is your opinion? PLEASE add comments.
Approve 55 (73%)
Disapprove 18 (24%)
Don’t care 2 (3%)
“All of the jobs the governor is adding will go to younger, cheaper employees or immigrants, not to established Michigan loyal employees making a decent living driving our made in Michigan “innovation economy.” – David L. Hall
“The right to work encompasses all we stand for in the USA for freedom and liberty. Most of those who oppose right to work would have us totally ignore our freedoms to endorse an anti-American candidate.” – Mark Grant
“This attack on the unions and the shrinking birth rates is simply the latest effort to return us to the 40’s and 50’s life and abandon any progress that we have made since then. If not for the unions, we would not have the quality of life for most of the middle class that we enjoy today. ” – George Duran
“I am a member of the largest union in Spain, and I gladly pay my fees. What your lawmakers are doing is a disguised way to kill the unions. When there are not enough fees to sustain the union and they see no means of support, they will have to dissolve, and for whose benefit? The wealthy! You will end-up working like slaves with no-one to fight for your rights and you will regret it.” – Javier Arizmendi
“My father went from a child laborer to a lifelong union member. We can thank the unions for all of our employment rights, which have become a global model. These laws weren’t ‘granted’ by the wealthy. These laws were fought for with blood, sweat and tears of the working class.” – Lorraine Layton
“I have lived for fifty years in a “Right to Work State” and some companies I worked for were not unionized and some were. In the company I worked longest for I was shop steward for 15 years. We had 250 eligible employees at our plant, and 235 were members and paid dues. The other 15 did not. We negotiated the employment contracts for everyone, and everyone, member or not, voted to accept or refuse the contract offered. But if they had an employer problem they were told to call their own lawyer because they were not members and we did not process grievances for them either now sometimes like if it was a question over seniority we would step in as it might set a precedent against us all but otherwise we stayed clear. However any member received the backing of every member of the union of 2,500 members out of 3,800 eligible company-wide.” – Dennis Miles
“First, Michigan workers already had the right to not join the union (but they had to pay union dues). This law has nothing to do with that. Second, this law means that those that choose not to join still enjoy all the rights of union membership without having to pay. So, why join something you get all the benefits of membership without having to pay a dime? You will receive collective bargaining gains in the form of higher pay, higher benefits, and even union representation if the company tries any funny business with you. I live in a right to work state and that is the way it is. Right-to-Work is a union busting bill, pure and simple. Unions give to the DNC because they don’t typically put out blatant union busting bills such as this. Plain and simple.” – Steven Butler
“This law does not change union workers rights. It does add one thing. That is, the right for a worker to decide for him or herself, if they wish to be represented (or not) by the union. All of the crazy work rules, freebies, benefits, arbitration, etc. are still protected (by Federal Law) through the collective bargaining process. If the Union does a good job of representing their members I can’t imagine too many will exercise their new right to not be a part of one!” – Craig Jones
“American workers may be sacked indiscriminately in a way that is impossible even in the UK, let alone the more civilized parts of Europe. I know this: I have seen friends and colleagues, ahem, “synergized” without so much as a by-your-leave or a bean in compensation.” – Gerwyn Moseley
“I absolutely love right to work in Michigan. Becoming a RTW state sends the message that we are a very pro-business state. Employees are still free to join unions, but they will not be forced to join a union. Forced unionism was completely wrong from the beginning and really shouldn’t have been struck down as unconstitutional.” – Joe Lynch
“This is a great idea; however I am concerned about the employees’ rights and protection. We need to have a right to work do doubt. However we also need to protect the employees and their benefits that could be taken away on a whim. Sometimes due to avoiding having the close or loose the business but sometimes for the improved profit margin without considering the true affect this would have on employees and their families. What we really need are the moral values in business which seemed to be lost.” – Randall Patterson
“This is a tough one. What exactly does it mean? My husband worked as a union employee and even after retirement we are still being taken care of. I worked for a retail chain as a non-union employee. After two and a half years still didn’t make much above minimum wage and the store abused our rights and treated team members like animals. Modern day sweat shops with the attitude you are a dime a dozen still exists. Yet unions also protect the rights of workers who abuse the system also instead of. Too bad there is not a better way.” – Annette Thompsett
“When it comes to denigrating all the hard work done over the past decades by intelligent people, our politicians are doing us a great disservice. I think the repeal of the Glas-Steagall Act, also from early part of 20th century is a good example of the damage done by politicians. Are they much more clever regarding RTW? I foresee RTW similarly bringing us full circle, eventually, to the need to have union representation mandated once again to ensure they have the funds to survive and meet the costs of representing employees.” – Ken Nanni
Okay, now it’s time to add YOUR opinion. What do you think about right-to-work? E-mail me (firstname.lastname@example.org).