Michigan Politician Selectively Favors ‘Tyranny of the Majority’
(Click here to download the April 2016 National Right To Work Newsletter)
It was three years ago last month that Michigan’s Right to Work law, adopted in December 2012 over the loud and angry objections of Big Labor bosses, first took effect.
The only thing this law does is prohibit the firing of employees for refusal to pay dues or fees to a union they don’t want, and never asked for.
Since March 2013, thousands and thousands of Michigan employees who are harmed, economically or otherwise, as a consequence of being subject to Big Labor monopoly bargaining have exercised their freedom under the 24th state Right to Work law to stop bankrolling the union that is hurting them.
Key Purpose of American Constitution Is to Protect Private Decision-Making
Polls and recent election results alike show that Michiganders overwhelmingly agree the individual employee ought to have the prerogative to withhold financial support for a union if he or she believes it is unnecessary or is doing a poor job.
Unfortunately, Big Labor Michigan politicians like state Rep. Robert Kosowski (D-Westland) are still trying to gut the Right to Work. And to accomplish his goal, Mr. Kosowski is willing to trample the U.S. Constitution.
Under the principles of limited government, public decisions are generally made by majority rule, but private decisions are not unless all parties affected by the decision agree to it.
Protecting the ability of the individual to make personal decisions without being bound by others’ dictates was a key objective of our Founding Fathers when they forged the Constitution two-and-a-quarter centuries ago.
Right to Work Foes Oppose Free Choice For Employee Who Opposes Unionization
The vast majority of Americans today want to preserve the liberties treasured by our Founding Fathers.
That’s why no one seriously claims that, when a majority of the defendants in a criminal case choose to be represented by one attorney, all the defendants have to be represented by that lawyer.
And when a majority of businesses in a community join and pay dues to the local chamber of commerce, other businesses remain free not to support it. No one questions that that is their prerogative.
But Right to Work foes insist there should be a glaring labor-law exception to the principle that private parties who refuse to consent to group decision-making can’t be legally bound by the decisions of the group.
Just like many other Americans, Right to Work foes endorse the provisions in federal law and every state law that protect the worker’s individual right to join and bankroll a union, even if a majority of his or her fellow employees don’t want one.
However, Right to Work foes like Mr. Kosowski oppose equal protection for the individual employee who doesn’t want a union.
His or her right not to pay dues or fees to an unwanted union must hinge on what other employees think, they insist.
National Right to Work Committee Vice President Matthew Leen commented: “To paraphrase George Orwell’s Animal Farm, Rep. Kosowski believes some workers are ‘more equal’ than others.”
Committee Members Will Vigilantly Defend Right To Work in Michigan
“In late February,” Mr. Leen continued, “Mr. Kosowski introduced two measures that would gut the Wolverine State’s Right to Work law by making it permissible to fire an employee for refusing to pay money to a union he or she would never join voluntarily.
“The two bills, H.B.5398 and H.B.5399, would permit such firings as long as the majority of the employees in a ‘bargaining unit,’ or a supermajority of those voting in an ‘election’ over the imposition of a forced-dues regime, side with Big Labor.
“It would be shocking if a union-friendly politician like Mr. Kosowski didn’t regard the individual worker’s freedom to join and bankroll a union as a right that must be, as U.S. Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson famously put it in his 1943 Barnette opinion, ‘beyond the reach of majorities and officials.’
“At the same time, Mr. Kosowski wants to make individual employees’ ability to withhold financial support for a union they haven’t joined contingent on the opinions of union members.
“The only plausible explanation for Mr. Kosowski’s selective advocacy of a ‘tyranny of the majority’ is that he cares only about what’s good for union bosses, and not a whit about what’s good for employees.”
Mr. Leen vowed that Committee members would do everything necessary to ensure H.B.5398 and H.B.5399 are defeated, and fight vigilantly to defend the Right to Work in Michigan.