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“A Blatant Power Grab”: Right To Work Laws Don’t Create Jobs

We hear a lot of talk from politicians in Lansing about creating jobs and making education a top priority, but Michigan’s middle class families know talk is cheap.

Last year our elected officials cut more than $1 billion from our K-12 schools, community colleges and universities so they could provide a $1.7 billion tax cut for businesses. These cuts won’t reduce class size, they won’t address barriers to student success, and they won’t put people back to work.

Now a small group of anti-union politicians and corporate special interests like the Mackinac Center for Public Policy are trying to make Michigan a so-called right-to-work state.

Let’s be clear. This is nothing more than a blatant power grab that will weaken the middle class and won’t create jobs.

As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “It is a law to rob us of our civil rights and job rights.”

A right-to-work law in Michigan would give even more profits to CEOs at the expense of our jobs, our retirement security and our kids’ future.

In states with right-to-work laws, employees earn an average of $1,500 less per year, have a lower standard of living and no job security. Currently, six of the 10 states with the highest unemployment rates in the nation have right-to-work laws on the books.

Of course, we all know this isn’t really about rebuilding Michigan’s economy. If it were, middle class families in states that have passed right-to-work laws would be better off, but that’s simply not the case.

In fact, in right-to-work states like Mississippi, Texas and Idaho, workers’ pensions were gutted. Thousands of workers who had been contributing to their pensions for decades were left with broken promises and no retirement security.

The politicians and corporate special interests who are pushing this unfair legislation know that unions are a check on corporate greed, and they are working overtime to silence the collective voice of our teachers, nurses and firefighters.

Corporate CEOs spent more than $1 billion to elect politicians who are willing to do their bidding and give them free rein over our economy.

If these attacks succeed in weakening unions, what will be left to check corporate power and fight outsourcing? CEOs will be able to rob workers of their voice, to lower wages and to ship even more jobs to China.

Gov. Rick Snyder has said he doesn’t want Michigan to become a right-to-work state, and I couldn’t agree more.

This issue is far too divisive, and will tear Michigan apart at a time when we should be focused on creating jobs and investing in public education to give our kids a better future.

When it comes to rebuilding our economy, talk is cheap. And since right-to-work is all about shortchanging workers, it’s clear this flawed proposal is wrong for Michigan.

 

By: David Hecker, Guest Columnist, Detroit Free Press, February 12, 2012

February 12, 2012 - Posted by | Collective Bargaining, Union Busting | , , , , , , ,

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