Individual workers score big with Michigan law change

The Oklahoman Editorial Published: December 13, 2012

The biggest worry Weingarten and other union honchos have about right to work is that their groups are sure to wind up with less rent-seeking money to spend on friendly politicians. Right to work doesn't end the right to organize or the ability to collectively bargain. It simply allows workers to choose whether they want to join a union.

Unions have steadily lost ground in this country. Only 6.9 percent of the nation's private workforce is unionized today. When given the choice, more and more Americans have decided they'd rather keep their money than give it to unions to spend on causes those workers don't support. Last month, Michigan voters rejected a proposal that would have cemented collective bargaining in the state's constitution.

Arguments in support of or in opposition to right-to-work laws can be overstated. Right to work is not a panacea. Nor is it a war on working people. As we argued in 2001, union bosses care mostly about keeping their jobs even when it means others have no jobs.

The extremists in this argument are the unions and their friends in high places. They want a guaranteed income stream from dues-paying members, regardless of whether individual members wish to belong to a union. In any other area of American life, this would be considered unconscionable coercion. For Weingarten? Well, it's as American as all those Detroit-made cars that we all bought before switching to imports manufactured (at a lower cost) in right-to-work states.

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