Unions busy subverting Right To Work

michigan-right-to-work-stateNolan Finley of the Detroit News discusses Big Labor efforts in Michigan to undercut Right To Work protections for workers.

Rather than convincing workers that it is worth continuing their membership in the union, the bosses are seeking subvert new rights:

Unions busy subverting right to workIf you’re a professor at Wayne State or Western Michigan, or a school teacher in Taylor or Berkley and are eager to exercise your right to end your forced union membership, fuggedaboutit.The mob that runs the public employee unions in Michigan has already figured out a way to keep you as an indentured servant to the unions and their financial beneficiaries in the Democratic Party.

Unions at those schools are rushing to renegotiate labor contracts before the March 27 effective date of the newly passed right-to-work law.Because the law includes a grandfather clause, contracts in place before that date aren’t affected by right to work until they expire.In Wayne State’s case, that would be 10 years from now, if the professors union’s proposal to extend the current contract is approved by a board of trustees made up nearly entirely by Democrats whose election campaigns were financed by labor unions.Similar extensions are being weighed at Western Michigan and the Taylor and Berkley public schools, and a growing list of other places.

It’s a warning flag that right to work alone will not be enough to break labor’s stranglehold on local politics and policy making.One of the reasons public employee unions are such a target of government reformers is that Michigan’s collective bargaining laws basically create the opportunity for them to negotiate contracts with themselves.All the unions need to do is put their money behind candidates who support their agenda and get them elected in school board elections that attract little interest from voters.

Once those union-friendly politicians take office, the adversarial relationship of the bargaining table goes out the window.The Michigan Education Association actually holds regular seminars informally titled “How to Elect Your Own Boss.”

It’s not just local school districts that the unions own. The Democrat-controlled University of Michigan Board of Regents is little more than an adjunct of the American Federation of Teachers. It consistently adopts costly, union-friendly policies over the strong objections of U-M’s administration.

The mostly Democratic state Board of Education refers to teachers unions as “the funders” because they finance members’ campaigns.Gov. Rick Snyder reassured during the right-to-work fight that the law would not impact collective bargaining rights.

But perhaps it should have, at least for public employees.In Wisconsin, government reforms now limit the issues public employees can bargain basically to wages. And while that still offers the potential for politicians and union bosses to collude in fleecing taxpayers, it restricts the scope of the shakedown.

The financial struggles of Michigan’s local communities and school districts, as well as many of its major universities, stem largely from decades of placing the interests of their employees ahead of those of taxpayers and students.

Nearly every local government in Michigan is saddled with wage and benefit packages they can no longer afford. Right to work offered hope of some relief, if only because it would shrink the pool of money available to unions for political meddling.But it will only succeed if workers have the freedom to exercise the right Michigan just gave them.