Mike Kueber's Blog

December 13, 2012

More on right-to-work

Filed under: Economics,Issues,Law/justice,Politics — Mike Kueber @ 2:44 am
Tags: , , , ,

Yesterday, Michigan became the 24th right-to-work state, and already the pro-union people are working toward its reversal.  One of the first priorities for any advocate is to find a winning slogan.  As the pro-abortion people will tell you, an ugly slogan is a movement killer; it is much better to be “pro-choice” or even better “pro-reproductive rights.”  The problem that the pro-union people have is that the following three terms have been used for decades and are hard-wired into our language:

  1. A closed shop means the employer must hire union members only, and employees must remain members of the union at all times in order to remain employed.
  2. A union shop means the employer may hire either union members or nonmembers, but all non-union employees must become union members within a specified period of time (or at least pay union dues) or lose their jobs.
  3. Right-to-work means the employer must hire employees regardless of whether they belong to a union (or pay union dues).

Closed shops were outlawed by the Taft-Hartley Act in 1947, but union shops are authorized unless a state has a right-to-work law.    

I haven’t read of any inspirational replacements for “union shop,” so for now the pro-union forces, including the media, are focused on destroying the already inspirational term, right-to-work.  The following is in Time magazine this week:   

  • The term “right to work,” coined by foes of union influence, is somewhat misleading. It has little to do with whether workers are eligible for employment. Instead, it restricts unions’ ability to require employees to pay union dues if they work for a unionized employer.

And the following is in this week’s Washington Post column by Harold Myerson:

  • That figure may shrink a little more with new “right to work” laws in Michigan — the propagandistic term for statutes that allow workers to benefit from union contracts without having to pay union dues.

Myerson goes on to make an incredible assertion that, although global competition is putting a damper on wages, America would better off if employees in jobs that are insulated from global competition were empowered to extract larger wage concessions from their employers:

  • Yes, globalizing and mechanizing jobs has cut into the livelihoods of millions of U.S. workers, but that is far from the whole story. Roughly 100 million of the nation’s 143 million employed workers have jobs that can’t be shipped abroad, that aren’t in competition with steel workers in Sao Paolo or iPod assemblers in Shenzhen.”

Jobs may not be shipped abroad, but they can be shipped to the 24 right-to-work states.  Myerson attempts to refute this fact by making the following misleading argument in his column:

  • Defenders of right-to-work laws argue that they improve a state’s economy by creating more jobs. But an exhaustive study by economist Lonnie K. Stevans of Hofstra University found that states that have enacted such laws reported no increase in business start-ups or rates of employment.”

Only a careful reading of this argument reveals that the first sentence refers to job creation while the second sentence is almost a non sequitur that refers to business start-ups and rates of employment.   

I suspect that Time magazine and the Washington Post are only beginning.  Just like what happened in Wisconsin, I expect the pro-union people in Michigan to join forces with the liberals in the media to launch a vicious, long-term assault on right-to-work laws.  Let’s hope the voters of Michigan are as smart as those in Wisconsin.  But if they aren’t, they will have themselves to blame for the continued economic decline of their state.


1 Comment »

  1. we’ve been through this before, people aren’t swayed by data. People take emtional stances then find data to substantiate their position…


    Comment by Q — December 13, 2012 @ 9:35 pm | Reply

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