In Michigan yesterday, Governor signed two 'Right to Work' laws, which is the culmination of an intense debate about the future of union domination in the state. Read about it here. Detroit News Article
This is such an interesting story to me because of its location: Automobile USA (at least at one time). If a state like Michigan, that would not even support its native son, Mitt Romney, last month in the Presidential election, can become the 24th state to enact this type of legislation, I still see hope for the future of our economy and society.
For those unaware, the basic premise of the laws is to allow employees of an organization that is a 'union shop' to choose whether or not they want to join the union. They will no longer be required to do so. This workplace freedom will grant more power, not less, to employees. They now can decide if the union dues are worth what they cost, and (at least in terms of the law) won't be forced to join if they do not wish to. This is a big victory for freedom and a blow to the power of the UAW specifically. Many union members have protested and decried this as a way to push down wages by employers. Honestly, that could happen, and actually should, in many cases. Let the free market determine wage value rather than setting artificial wage guarantees that can destroy a business's ability to turn a profit. President Obama chose to bail out our largest auto makers a few years ago, and while he won't say it, this union wage establishment was a primary reason for why this happened.
My favorite aspect of this is the view of liberals in Michigan that this will create a new wave of freeloaders. From the article linked above:
Democrats said the law will create a class of "freeloader" workers who enjoy the pay and fringe benefits negotiated by unions without paying the costs of union representation.
"We expect everyone in an organization to pay their fair share. Let's call this legislation what it is-- the right to freeload," said state Rep. Bob Constan, D-Dearborn Heights.
So, Representative Constan is against freeloading? That is hysterical. This man's party has pushed through legislation that is the embodiment of freeloading. How about ObamaCare? Is he against food stamp and welfare programs? I doubt it. I guess its only ok to freeload through government programs in his worldview.
I would argue that this is not freeloading at all. The workers will be paid a market-based wage that is competitive and based on the value of what they produce. In most cases, the cost of business will be reduced, and prices will go down. Additionally, more businesses will flock to Michigan because of this cost reduction, meaning MORE JOBS for a state whose unemployment rate is significantly higher than the national average (Michigan's unemployment rate is 9.1%, and Detroit's is 19%!!). This is good news for the state's workers.
Seeing this happen here keeps me hopeful that we can turn things around across the country. We have ample opportunity to do so. This is one of many small steps on the road back to prosperity, and more importantly, real freedom.