Right To Work Driving Economic Boom

Manufacturing Jobs Flock Back to Michigan

MI-Governor-Mitch-Snyder
In late 2012, then-Gov. Rick Snyder signed Michigan Right to Work legislation. Since then, the Wolverine State’s percentage growth in factory jobs has outpaced the forced-dues state average by nearly five-to-one. (AP Photo/Detroit News, Dale G. Young)

Factory Payrolls up by 14.8% Since Right to Work Law Took Effect

In 2011, the public debate over whether Michigan should adopt a Right to Work law barring the termination of employees for refusal to join or bankroll a union was heating up.

That September, the Big Labor-founded Economic Policy Institute (EPI) issued a skewed study dismissing the possibility such a law would bring any economic benefits to the Wolverine State.

‘Very Hard to See’ Such a Strong Comeback Occurring Without Right to Work

Fourteen months later, elected officials in Lansing ignored Big Labor’s economists and passed the nation’s 24th state Right to Work law, giving Michiganders a chance to see for themselves if the pro-forced unionism “think tank” was right.

Now it should be obvious to all the EPI was wrong.

From 2013, the first year its Right to Work law took effect, through 2018, factory employment in Michigan soared by more than 81,000, an absolute increase far greater than any other state’s.

“It’s very difficult to see how Michigan could have achieved such a strong economic comeback if the state hadn’t made unionism voluntary six years ago,” said National Right to Work Committee President Mark Mix.

“Right to Work Michigan’s 14.8% manufacturing-employment gain from 2013 to 2018 is nearly quintuple the average percentage increase for forced-unionism states as a group over the same period, and far in excess of the increases for nearby Ohio and Illinois, which have remained forced-unionism.

“And factory employment is just one of many economic indicators pointing to better times for employees and businesses since Michigan’s Right to Work law took effect.”

chart-mi-change-since-right-to-work
Since 2012, the last year before Michigan’s Right to Work law took effect, average weekly earnings for the state’s private-sector workers have risen by 15.9%, even as living costs have fallen relative to other states.

Since 2012, Average Weekly Earnings in Michigan Have Risen by 70% More Than CPI

Mr. Mix continued: “For example, from 2012 through 2018, the average weekly earnings for private-sector employees in Michigan as reported by the U.S. Labor Department rose from less than $768 to roughly $890, or 15.9%.

“Private-sector pay per week in Right to Work Michigan rose by 70% more than inflation as measured by the Labor Department’s urban consumer price index [CPI].

“And the national CPI greatly overstates inflation in Michigan, where, as the indices for interstate cost-of-living differences calculated annually by the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center clearly show, the cost of living has fallen relative to forced-unionism states since 2012.”

(See the chart on page three for additional information.)

National Right to Work Committee members and supporters around the country deserve part of the credit for Michigan’s success.

For years prior to the Wolverine State Right to Work law’s enactment, the Committee had been calling upon candidates for state office in Michigan to pledge 100% opposition to compulsory unionism, and had given encouragement and advice to grass-roots citizens seeking to pass a state law to make unionism voluntary.

Just before the Right to Work legislative showdown in late 2012, the Committee conducted a massive phone and mail mobilization to let freedom-loving Michiganders statewide know their input was needed.

Even Post-Right to Work, Union Dons Have Refused To Let Employees Quit

And independently from such mobilization efforts, Right to Work’s research arm, the National Institute for Labor Relations Research, supplied elected officials, journalists, policy organizations, and ordinary citizens with information advancing the moral and economic arguments for forced-dues repeal.

Of course, the battle for the individual employee’s freedom of choice in Michigan did not end once the Right to Work statute took effect six years ago.

“All too many union officials appear to have the idea that, because they don’t like the Michigan Right to Work law, they don’t have to obey it,” commented Mr. Mix.

Along with the Committee, Mr. Mix heads the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, whose staff attorneys have litigated more than 100 cases to protect Wolverine State employees’ freedom not to pay dues or fees to a union since forced-dues extractions were legally barred.  

He cited the case of Lloyd Stoner, a Foundation client who works at the Ford truck plant in Dearborn, Mich., as an example of how greedy union kingpins stubbornly refuse to acknowledge member resignations so they can keep funneling a portion of the workers’ paychecks into Big Labor coffers.

Acting at UAW Brass’ Behest, Ford Kept Collecting Dues Against Worker’s Wishes

More than a year ago, Mr. Stoner resigned from Local 600 of the United Auto Workers union. (The UAW has been repeatedly labeled by U.S. attorneys as a “co-conspirator” in a scheme with Fiat- Chrysler Automobiles to pilfer millions of dollars from a worker training center they jointly operate.)

Despite Mr. Stoner’s resignation and despite Michigan’s Right to Work law, which plainly states that nonmembers may not be compelled to pay any money to a union in order to keep their jobs, UAW officials insisted they could keep exacting dues from him.

And for months Ford kept on deducting dues out of Mr. Stoner’s wages and giving them to the UAW.

Fortunately, this February, Mr. Stoner was able, with Right to Work attorneys’ assistance, to win a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruling that UAW bosses had illegally caused Ford to continue deducting unauthorized dues from his paychecks and unlawfully retained the money for themselves.  

But the fact that Mr. Stoner had to file charges with the NLRB in order to exercise his statutorily recognized freedom of choice confirms that the battle for employee Right to Work protections isn’t over yet in Michigan.

Other Union Bosses Should Take Warning From Decision

“One may hope that other Michigan union bosses who have been evading the law and trampling employees’ freedom will take warning from the NLRB decision forcing UAW Local 600 to post employee notices acknowledging it violated Mr. Stoner’s rights,” said Mr. Mix.

“I’m not holding my breath, however. Fortunately, thanks to Right to Work staff attorneys, employees in Michigan don’t have to count on union bosses to comply voluntarily with their state’s ban on forced union dues and fees.”

(source: May 2019 National Right To Work Newsletter)