Michigan UAW Member Demands Right to Work Law

Terry Bowman, taking to the pages of the MichiganLive.com in response to a column from UAW union boss Bob King, Terry Bowman, a UAW union member, outlines the case for enacting Right to Work in Michigan:

As a UAW member and the leader of a union member non-profit organization, I looked at Proposal 2 both sides and quickly realized that this attempt by union officials would bring a serious blow to Michigan taxpayer’s and ultimately to union members. I decided that I had to publicly call out this proposal as potentially devastating to Michigan.

 UAW President Bob King says the state needs a ‘climate of cooperation’, yet union executives threw that philosophy to the wind this summer and fall during the ballot campaign. By pushing for Proposal 2, they were treating Michigan taxpayers as if they are nothing more than ‘special interests’ that must be defeated at all costs. Of course those costs ended up being in the tens of millions of dollars.

King claims that there is no need for Right to Work legislation because “the domestic auto industry is roaring back”. Unfortunately, he is falling into the same trap that so many in Michigan have been victim of: a false sense of security when the auto industry is doing good.

Time after time Michigan has been crushed when the auto industry slows down, and it will happen again. When it does, Michigan will again lead the nation in layoffs and unemployment.

Using the auto industry as a benchmark for Michigan’s economic future is risky; much less even a good idea. Economic success starts with the private sector and creating the environment that creates all kinds of jobs.

Quoting a recent poll which showed strong support for collective bargaining for workers, King is inferring that right-to-work legislation gets rid of collective bargaining.

The truth is right to work does not ban unions in any way, it does not get rid of collective bargaining in any way, and it does not stop anyone from forming, joining, or assisting a union.

All it does is give the choice to workers to refrain from forming, joining, or assisting a union as a condition of employment.

 King says voters are ready for politicians in Lansing to get to work creating jobs and improving education. I couldn’t agree more, however after studying the issue, I believe the best thing our elected officials in Lansing could do is to pass “worker choice” or right to work, especially now that Indiana is a Right to Work state. Michigan must do the same in order to compete for jobs. It really is that simple.

King finishes his column by stating that he wants us to “foster mature relationships” to save jobs and make this state attractive.

Is forcing workers to fund and support union executives and their political agendas a “mature relationship?”

 If you have to force workers to support you, what does that say about Michigan’s unions? Perhaps King realizes that the rank and file in Michigan is extremely unhappy with the representation they are receiving on the shop floor, and he is afraid to allow workers to choose for themselves if they want to buy the product that union officials have to offer.

 All across Michigan in every union, workers are frustrated over a lack of on the job representation, being denied their First Amendment right of freedom of association, job shops paying workers at different levels regardless of effort, ability, or merit, and taking their money and spending it on a political agenda which 40 percent or more of members disagree with.

 Does that sound like union officials are “fostering a mature relationship” with workers? Unionism in the private sector used to be over 30 percent, now it is a paltry 6.9 percent. Forced unionism isn’t working.

 Forced solidarity is no solidarity at all. Even prisoners in a chain gang have “solidarity.” Only through complete voluntary unionism will there be real solidarity that fosters mature relationships to save and create jobs. To be pro-union worker means to be pro-right to work.

Unions can once again grow and become well-respected organizations, but not until union executives embrace worker choice. It will make them better and stronger in the long run. And that is something that this UAW member believes in.