‘What Was Meant to Be a Show of Political Strength Turned Out to Be a Show of Political Weakness’

Slate writer Matthew Yglesias makes several good points in a blog post discussing the adoption of Right to Work legislation by both chambers of the Michigan Legislature on Thursday.  (Most observers now expect Right to Work measures protecting private and most public employees from forced union dues and fees to receive final legislative approval and be signed into law by Gov. Rick Snyder next week.  Of course, Big Labor is pulling out all the stops to see if this predicted outcome can be forestalled.)

Mr. Yglesias properly emphasizes how union bosses’ efforts to pass a state constitutional amendment last month prohibiting the Michigan Legislature from ever adopting a Right to Work law or restricting Big Labor monopoly-bargaining privileges in a host of other ways backfired on compulsory unionism proponents:

 The particular political context here is that Michigan unions put an initiative on the 2012 ballot to enshrine collective bargaining rights in the state constitution. That was meant to be a prophylactic measure to stop something like this from happening. But they lost, even on an Election Day when Barack Obama handily carried the state. So what was meant to be a show of political strength turned out to be a show of political weakness, with the union cause running well behind Obama and signaling that a strong anti-union move wouldn’t necessarily provoke a backlash around Michigan’s ideological median.

Michigan Goes Right-to-Work