From the Michigan Governor’s web site (bolds other than in questions added by me):
December 11, 2012
What is Freedom to Work?
Freedom to Work, also known as right to work, is a simple measure that gives every worker the right to choose for themselves whether to join a union. It’s based on the simple truth that Michigan workers should never be forced to join — or not join — a union.
Why does Governor Snyder support Freedom to Work?
Governor Snyder is pro-union and pro-worker, and he supports Freedom to Work for two reasons. First, he believes that workers should be able to decide whether or not they want to join a union. Second, he believes that Freedom to Work is one more way that we can help Michigan’s economy be more competitive, grow stronger, and produce more and better jobs for the people of our state.
Who else supports Freedom to Work?
A majority of people in Michigan support a right to work law, according to a recent poll.
How will Freedom to Work help Michigan’s economy?
Freedom to Work will help Michigan attract the new businesses and new industries we need to compete in the 21st century. That will help our economy recover faster and set us on the path to more and better jobs for years to come.
How does Freedom to Work impact wages?
According to the Wall Street Journal, “of the 10 states with the highest rate of personal income growth, eight have right-to-work laws,” and according to an economic study, there is a 23% higher rate of per capita income growth in right-to-work states. Another study finds that had Michigan adopted a right-to-work law in 1977, per capita income for a family of four would have been $13,556 higher by 2008.
Not only do right-to-work states provide more jobs, the workers in those states enjoy a higher standard of living. Yes, there are some right-to-work states where workers receive lower wages, but that’s because the cost-of-living happens to be lower in those states. Moreover, workers in right-to-work states don’t have to pay mandatory union dues or make forced political contributions, so they end up with even more take-home pay.
How does Freedom to Work impact benefits?
Right-to-work does not affect workers’ ability to bargain for their benefits in any way. If workers feel that management is mistreating them, they’re still free to unionize and fight for their benefits through collective bargaining. All right-to-work does is give workers the freedom to choose whether or not to join a union. If they believe unionizing is in their best interest, they’re free to do that. If they’re happy without unionizing, they’re free to do that, too.
Does Freedom to Work prevent people from joining a union?
Absolutely not. Freedom to Work in Michigan will allow everyone the freedom to choose whether or not they want to join a union. Workers will not be forced to join a union, just as no one should ever be forbidden to join a union.
How does this legislation impact police and fire unions?
This legislation has no impact on police and fire unions. It respects and preserves the status afforded to police and firefighters under Public Act 312, which reflects the hazardous nature of their jobs. We must preserve the loyalty and intra-unit solidarity that are crucial elements in the ability of our police and firefighters to perform their dangerous public safety missions.
UPDATE: I criticized Snyder earlier this year for tax increases which I believe were unnecessary, and which seemed to be setting him on the same good-at-first, awful-after-that path travelled by George Voinovich in Ohio during the 1990s.
The left’s stubbornness and intransigence clearly changed that. Tom Walsh at the Detroit Free Press recounted the history several days ago:
Why the abrupt about-face?
… Frustration with labor as an impediment rather than a partner in fixing Michigan.
And frustration with himself for his naïveté in not realizing it earlier.
Public employee unions opposed Snyder’s moves to put more teeth into emergency manager laws that would enable swifter action to rescue cities and school districts that bungled themselves into insolvency.
In Detroit, Mayor Dave Bing and a spineless City Council were stonewalled by employee unions at every turn, slow-walking needed reforms and cost-cutting while the city burned through cash at a frightening rate.
As a result, Snyder’s patient attempt to help fix Detroit via consent agreement instead of imposing an emergency manager has failed.
To top it off, Snyder found himself having to fight off Proposal 2, the ill-advised November ballot attempt to stuff a bag of goodies for organized labor into the Michigan Constitution.
Why John Boehner hasn’t reached the same point with President Obama and Harry Reid is beyond me. Pass a bill with what the House majority says it wants send it to Harry Reid, and go home. If Reid and Obama then choose to go over the fiscal cliff, it’s not your fault.