Last week, a grassroots coalition of past and present union members, retirees, and citizens from Michigan debuted the new MI Freedom to Work organization. The organization’s sole mission is to make Michigan a Right-to-Work state through passage of a Michigan Freedom to Work Act. Current law mandates that an employee pay union dues as a condition of employment whenever a union and employer agree to it. Right-to-Work legislation would end this practice and allow an individual worker to have the liberty to decide whether or not to join the union and pay its compulsory dues.
Becoming the nation’s twenty-third Right-to-Work state would give Michigan a significant economic advantage over its Great Lakes region rivals, since the business-friendly legislation would attract employers from its forced-union-dues neighbors in the Midwest. Right-to-Work states have consistently outgrown forced-union-dues states in gross state product, job growth, and per-capita disposable income, as well as other measures.
Further, the moral and individual civil rights argument favors Right-to-Work. Passage of would be a victory for individual liberty and freedom over a tyranny of collective union powers. Stacy Swimp, President of the Frederick Douglass Foundation, stated at one of several launch announcements:
All employees should be free to join and financially support a labor union if they choose, without fear of discrimination or penalty. We believe all employees should be equally free to choose not to join or financially support a union, again without fear of discrimination or penalty. This July Fourth weekend, and every day of the year, individual freedom is the issue. We call on the Legislature and Gov. Snyder to pass as quickly as possible a state civil rights law guaranteeing every Michigan employee's freedom to choose.
The Mackinac Center for Public Policy filmed highlights of the announcement that took place in Lansing, as can be seen below: