Girded For Battle in Right to Work Michigan

After Big Labor Democrats’ failed attack on Iowans’ Right to Work, during which Committee President Mark Mix testified with law-enforcement protection, the state party’s fortunes fizzled. Will Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (inset) learn from history? (Credit: Mary Chind/Des Moines Register) (Credit: Julia Pickett/Wikimedia Commons)

Factory Jobs Have Surged Since State Banned Forced Union Dues

Boosted by ample Big Labor money and manpower flowing into their campaigns, union-label Democrat politicians seized control of the Michigan Legislature while retaining their hold over the state’s governorship in the 2022 elections.

Almost as soon as the November returns were in, radical Big Labor lawmakers, whose views are shared by only a small minority of Michigan citizens, began calling on the state’s incoming legislative majority leaders to seize the chance to destroy the Wolverine State’s decade-old Right to Work statutes.

As a longtime supporter of union monopolies, Democrat Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is expected to be on board for any and all legislative efforts to destroy Right to Work.  

Hawkeye State Democrats Tried to Reinstate Forced Dues After 2006 ‘Blue Wave’

But as a savvy politician she is also undoubtedly aware of the fact that crusades to cancel state Right to Work protections for employees never end well for the politicians who lead them.

“Since the early 1960’s, anti-Right to Work politicians have tried literally dozens of times to pass laws reinstituting forced dues and fees in states where they had been eliminated,” noted National Right to Work Committee Vice President John Kalb.

“They have all failed, while hurting themselves in the process.”

Mr. Kalb cited the case of Iowa, where union-label Democrats launched an ill-fated anti-Right to Work crusade immediately after they gained simultaneous control of the state Senate, state House of Representatives, and governorship during the November 2006 electoral “blue wave.”

Incoming Democrat Gov. Chet Culver had said nothing at all in public about Right to Work during his campaign. But as soon as he won, he egged on rabidly pro-forced unionism representatives and senators by vowing to sign into law any forced-unionism legislation that reached his desk.

Big Labor Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal (D-Council Bluffs) and House Speaker Pat Murphy (D-Dubuque) were determined to “strike while the iron was hot.”  Mr. Gronstal quickly rammed a Right to Work destruction bill through the Senate.

In the face of this threat, the Committee mobilized 100,000 supporters in the Hawkeye State to contact their legislators to oppose the repeal effort.  President Mark Mix himself testified at a legislative hearing at the Capitol, protected by the  Iowa State Police.  

As a result of these and other efforts, the forced-dues legislation ultimately stalled in the House as seven Democratic state representatives joined with every Republican to oppose the scheme. The level of nastiness was so high that one of the seven actually switched parties at the end of that session.  

Despite that failure, the anti-Right to Work drive continued in early 2008.

It stalled again, but union strategists were sure they would finally win after Barack Obama’s coattails helped Big Labor Democrats widen their legislative majorities in the November 2008 elections.  

By this time, however, the Committee had expanded its support base to over 120,000, and Committee activists doubled down against repeal. There was even a bribery attempt against one of the holdouts to try to get him to flip. But nothing worked for union lobbyists.

Defensive Efforts Being Prepared in the Wolverine State 

“One might hope that the mere fact that Michigan’s manufacturing employment shrank by 22% during the nine years prior to the implementation of its Right to Work law in March 2013, but grew by 11% over the next nine years, would make Gov. Whitmer hesitant to help Big Labor kill the law,” said Mr. Kalb.

“But if that isn’t enough, the fact that the Iowa Democrat Party lost control of the state governorship and House immediately after its 2006-2010 anti-Right to Work foray, and is now but a shadow of its former self, should make her stop and think.

“Of course, the Committee is not counting on common sense to prevail. Michigan members are already being mobilized. Field staff are already being sent to knock on doors and help stop the incipient repeal effort.  

“With union-label Democrats holding only razor-thin majorities in the Michigan House and Senate, Big Labor will have no margin for error as it seeks to kill Right to Work. And Committee activists are prepared to do everything necessary to stop them, just as we did in Iowa.”

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