While on the executive board of my local union, as the lone conservative voice I recommended from the very start against supporting Proposal 2, but no one listened to me and now the unions are reaping what they have sown.
On several occasions I argued in my local union executive meetings and in our representation council meetings and I distinctly remember a heated discussion that I had with the Michigan Education Association President at a picnic, and in each case I strongly recommended that pushing for Proposal 2 was a bad idea for several reasons.
- One, that if the effort failed than those who were anti-union would counter-attack and push for right-to-work.
- Two, that if the proposal failed than the support for unions would be evident for everyone to see, and if it was below 50% it would reveal our weakness politically whereas we might disguise this fact further if that was the case.
- Three, that the money, time, effort, and energy that we would have to pour into Proposal 2 to hope to get it past would be money, time, effort, and energy that we would need if we were to defeat an attempt to make our state go right to work. This is not to say that I am against right-to-work, but rather to say that if the unions really viewed right-to-work as the worst threat to its existence than they should have saved everything to defend against that attack.
But my advice was ignored, just like every conservative or Republican or moderate voice is ignored in the MEA and the other labor unions in our state and around the nation, and now the MEA and the other unions are going to get what they deserve- nay, what they asked for- and Michigan is going to become a right-to-work state.
The Detroit News write up about this story hits on my first two points:
…While campaigning for governor, Snyder said he would sign a right-to-work bill, but he had repeatedly said the issue was not part of his agenda to reform Michigan’s traditionally labor-friendly business climate.
But during the campaign to defeat Proposition 2, the data-driven governor began noticing polling that showed Michiganians favored the right-to-work concept of making it illegal to require workers in unionized workplaces to financially support the union or face termination.
“When his top agenda items were completed and that intersected with the revelation that Michiganders really wanted this, it was an easy transition for him to say, ‘OK, the time’s right,'” said state Rep. Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake, the leading proponent of the legislation. “The polling data and the exclamation point of the actual election I think had a big effect on his viewpoint.”…
Right to work is going to hit union officials very hard, as they will no longer be able to justify their salaries and positions and unwavering political support for the most progressive of Democrats in the face of workers demanding to see results and competition from other unions that may deliver results.
Right now, if I want to work and be a teacher in a public school in Michigan I am forced to join a union. Maybe I still will after right-to-work passes here in Michigan- but at least I will make that choice on my own and not as a condition of employment. Right-to-work does nothing more than give workers a right to work in a job without union representation and the right to choose whether or not they join a union- it does nothing else.
The unions are terrified because they know that if workers can choose not to join their union or can choose to join no union than they will lose dues and money and be out of a job. All those hundreds of people that my hard work goes to employ who work hard every day to advance political interests contrary to my personal beliefs will no longer be able to use my labor to provide them wealth and property- I will be a free man now. No longer will I be a slave to the interests of a few elite men and women in far-away capitals who live the high life and go to fancy conferences and wear expensive suits on my dime and as a result of my hard work- now they will need to justify the voluntary transfer of my property to them by producing results for me in the form of higher pay and better benefits.
Over the last several years I have watched as the MEA has churned millions into an effort to recall a Republican that they believed was hostile to unions, resulting in another Republican being elected for that seat and the new Republican being even more hostile to unions. I’ve watched the MEA support through all their many ways the effort to meddle in another state’s political process- the Wisconsin recall of their Governor- and have that end in an utter failure. I’ve read over the past year political emails sent almost daily from a range of MEA officials- from my own local union President to communications directors for several shell organizations that the MEA controls- who have spent a lot of time and effort on these emails but which have more to do with helping progressives and Democrats get elected and less to do with providing me with better pay and support. Labor unions- especially the leadership- such as the MEA are wasting money, resources, and efforts in an attempt to push their own pet agenda’s and control the lives of their workers- and right-to-work is an attack on that sort of imposition of values and beliefs and conditions of employment on free people.
While I typed this blog post I received yet another email from my local union boss, ordering all of us to wear red tomorrow in support of commun(ist) bonds and workers rights. I urge you all to reject that and wear blue and green in support of workers and individuals and freedom and liberty.
Have no sympathy for what is happening to the labor unions here in Michigan- they brought their own ruin on themselves through their own actions. These reforms are needed, necessary, and called on down by union actions, and right-to-work appears to further the advancement of life, the promotion of liberty, and the protection of property, so support it here and fight back against any sort of thuggery or corruption that union officials are sure to unleash today and the rest of this week.
Original Post: A Conservative Teacher