Factory Payrolls up by 14.8% Since Right to Work Law
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
“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.”
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
(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
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
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
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
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
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.”