What Happened in Michigan?
Michigan passing Right to Work this week caught the political class, pundits, and unions in particular completely off guard.
While union bosses complained this legislation was rammed down their throats, an honest observation makes it clear it was their own overreach and political miscalculation in November that led to this surprise victory for workplace freedom.
Michigan C4L activist Adam de Angeli has a great write-up detailing why Right to Work “suddenly” appeared on the agenda this week:
Governor Snyder had always maintained that Right to Work was not on the agenda. He was not lying. It was a fight he didn’t want to pick.
Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville had always maintained not only that it wasn’t on his agenda, but that he would block it. He was not lying. He received considerable union contributions for his campaign.
But all of that went out the window when the unions went after them on the November ballot.
Proposal 2, which would have enshrined monopoly unionism into the Michigan Constitution, went down in flames. It lost by a considerably worse margin than Mitt Romney. It gave away the unions’ weakness.
But the big catalyst was not Proposal 2, but Proposal 1, the referendum on the emergency manager law.
The emergency manager law was Rick Snyder’s baby. He considered it the centerpiece of his administration. So did many Republicans in the legislature, who considered it the most important thing they had done.
The unions spent millions of dollars—dues stolen from their forced members, of course—overturning this at the ballot.
For Governor Snyder and the Republicans in the legislature, this was the last straw. The unions could not be reasoned or bargained with.
The unions did not care if they were depriving thousands of impoverished children an education. They did not care that Snyder and Richardville were keeping Right to Work at bay, when Republicans had huge majorities in both chambers.
The unions declared all-out war on the Republicans.
And the Republicans said, “Screw it. They’re rabid. They can’t be reasoned with. We have nothing to lose.”
In the end, this was the primary reason for Right to Work getting a vote in Michigan.
Of course there is a myriad of secondary reasons that actually led to it passing, like the public pressure consistently applied on elected officials by MIC4L activists.
As the Vice President of the National Right to Work Committee Greg Mourad said, ”Michigan Campaign for Liberty’s petition and phone call drives played a major role in getting Right to Work passed.”
Adam’s entire article is worth a read, particularly in his explanation of how Right to Work legislation fits into a pro-liberty agenda.