Forced-Unionism Apologist’s ‘Rebuttal’ of Mark Mix Op-Ed an Exercise in Misdirection

Back in the “old days,” that is, well under two decades ago, when newspaper print editions were the only kind available, an angry reader who disagreed with an op-ed contribution, but had no ready answers for the facts and arguments it made, could more easily sidestep this problem in a letter to the editor responding to the commentary.

The letter writer knew that, by the time his or her letter could be published, the vast majority of the newspaper’s readers would no longer have a copy of the original op-ed, and hardly anyone would remember exactly what it said.  Therefore, the letter writer could “rebut” points that the op-ed author never made, rather than the actual arguments.  And, with no on-line version of the op-ed available, practically no one would be the wiser.

In late April, the Lansing (Mich.) State Journal published an op-ed by National Right to Work Committee President Mark Mix that made two basic points.  Mix contended that, contrary to Big Labor propagandists, the main impetus for the Michigan Right to Work law adopted in December 2012 came from Committee members and other freedom-loving citizens in Michigan, and not from any politician.  The second point was that President Obama didn’t know what he was talking about when he echoed union bosses’ claims about the economic impact of Right to Work laws at the time Michigan’s ban on forced union dues and fees was being considered, and Michigan’s experience since the law took effect is only the latest illustration of the President’s cluelessness.

The op-ed obviously made forced-unionism apologist Charles McGuire, a resident of Eaton Rapids, Mich., angry.  His letter responding to Mix (see the link below) was published early last week.  Unfortunately, perhaps because he knew his letter would be available on-line for free to the general public, but Mix’s op-ed is available only to paid State Journal subscribers, McGuire has resorted to the timeworn and dishonorable tactic of “rebutting” claims the op-ed didn’t make.  Meanwhile, McGuire simply refuses to acknowledge undisputed facts cited by Mix.

For example, Mix noted that in early 2012  union bosses “decided to launch a pre-emptive strike against Right to Work in Michigan” by concocting Proposal 2, a ballot measure “that would have made it constitutionally impossible” for elected officials “to adopt a Right to Work law or restrict substantially Big Labor’s monopoly privileges in any other way.”

Mix added that, to union bosses’ chagrin, the people of Michigan refused to go along.  A “resounding majority [57.4%, to be precise] of Michigan voters opposed Proposal 2.”  The lopsided popular vote against Proposal 2 surely paved the way for the vote by legislators to adopt a Right to Work law the following month.

McGuire doesn’t deny any of this.   He just ignores it, and pretends that Big Labor protests against Right to Work while the legislation was being considered in Michigan, which were minuscule by comparison with the massive statewide vote against Proposal 2, “prove” the legislation was unpopular.

Mix’s op-ed also pointed out that, under Michigan’s new Right to Work law, “the right not to join or bankroll a union is protected in the same way that the right to join and bankroll a union has been protected for decades.”  Under federal law and under every state law, an individual employee’s freedom to join and bankroll a union is fully protected even if the majority of employees and the employer don’t want a union.  Employees can’t “vote” to deny the minority of employees who want a union the freedom to join and pay full dues to a union.

That’s the way it should be, and McGuire surely agrees.  Yet he wants to deny employees who don’t want a union the freedom to refuse to bankroll one, based on what their fellow employees he think.  Why the double standard?  McGuire doesn’t explain, perhaps because he calculates his readers won’t remember what Mix said, anyway.

Finally, Mix pointed out that during Michigan’s 2012 gubernatorial race, GOP nominee Rick Snyder said he would sign a Right to Work law if it came to his desk, but also tried to “appease Big Labor” by indicating he “wouldn’t push for passage of a Right to Work law.”  To “rebut” this point, McGuire cites a Snyder campaign statement that he wouldn’t push for passage of a Right to Work law.  Of course, this is exactly what Mix acknowledged.  Meanwhile, McGuire simply overlooks the public statements by candidate Snyder that he supported Right to Work in principle.

The aforementioned examples are by no means the only instances of flagrant misstatements and misdirection in McGuire’s relatively brief letter to the editor, but they give a good idea of how cynical it is.  And sad to say, McGuire is far from the only forced-unionism apologist in Michigan who hopes he or she can sway fellow citizens to support repeal of the state’s fledgling Right to Work law by trampling the truth.

Charles McGuire:Writer was off the mark on right to work