Michigan Right-to-work law

Michigan GOP Lawmakers Get Out-smarted on RTW

images[1]With the union-busting intentions of Michigan’s Right-to-Work law poised to take effect on March 27th, faculty members at various universities are quietly contemplating (and certainly already negotiating) extensions of their current contracts. Existing contracts are exempt from the deleterious effects of RTW, so organized labor views this as an opportunity to stave-off the retrograde law while they work on various legal and legislative avenues to neutralize it.

The Battle Creek Enquirer reports that Michigan State University and Lansing Community College are in secret talks, and that Wayne State University and Western Michigan University are openly exploring the contract extension option as a way to maintain stable relations with faculty. However, Michigan House Republicans see it differently and are grumbling that they may use this as an excuse to withhold funding from any institution that extends contracts.

These lawmakers have a grossly bloated perception of public animosity towards unions.

The University of Michigan recently collaborated with Michigan Public Policy Survey late last year on an extensive research project that found that Michigan’s local units of government were satisfied with their union relationships and negotiations.

Additionally, a RTW study conducted by the Michigan State University School of Human Resources and Labor Relations, published in January 2011 by the Employment Policy Research Network, examined the economic impact in all 50 states over a three year period, comparing and contrasting RTW states to those that had strong labor standards. Among their key findings:

  • “…high wages increase aggregate demand in the state leading to increased economic activity.”
  • “Right-to-work laws and taxes seem to have no effect on economic activity. Similarly, unionization has little effect on economic activity.”
  • “…unionized firms are able to use productivity enhancements to offset any higher costs associated with collective bargaining.”
  • “…results suggest that the benefits of Right-to-work laws and tax reductions may be more political than economic.”

But, GOP lawmakers aren’t interested in facts when there are campaign contributions to be had. Their threats to withhold funding may be nothing more than bluster, but they count on not having their bluff called.

Democratic Rep. Sam Singh, who represents the East Lansing area, told the following to The Battle Creek Enquirer: “I think it’s a dangerous precedent for the legislature to be involved in contract negotiations between a university and its employees.”

Indeed.

Amy Kerr Hardin from Democracy Tree

democracy tree logo

New Michigan Law in the Works to Destroy Public Education

A posthumous legacy of Michigan’s 96th Legislature — some ugly unfinished business the state can expect to see lead the parade of bills introduced in the new session:

Neophyte Republican party hard-liner, Lisa Posthumus-Lyons rode the coat-tails of her daddy, Dick Posthumus, into the Michigan House in 2010. After his failed gubernatorial race and loss to Jennifer Granholm, Dick worked his backroom corporate affiliations, and the father-daughter team surfed their well-greased skids into power positions within the Snyder Administration. The 32 year old freshman lawmaker, Lisa Posthumus-Lyons, fresh out of dabbling in the real estate business, was appointed Chair of the House Education Committee when the previous occupant, Rep. Paul Scott, was recalled.

Upon election, Snyder named the elder Posthumus as his senior advisor and legislative lobbyist. The appointment of Posthumus, a Michigan farmer with extensive legislative experience (having been the longest serving Senate Majority Leader in Michigan’s history) should have been the first clue that the Snyder administration would be nothing like the one painted in the campaign. More →

The (F)Law of the Land — Why RTW Laws are Bad for State Economies

Michigan leaders, like moths, are mindlessly being drawn to the destructive Right-to-work flame, soon making them the 24th state to enact a bad law which every qualified economist who has seriously studied the subject finds to be destructive to a state’s economy and workforce, while being little more than a short-term political lever at best. The state will join the ranks of: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Kansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia,and Wyoming.

Newspapers across Michigan are rethinking their endorsement of the governor, and Virg Bernero is suddenly looking a lot more like “the one that got away” to the media as he is now the darling of recent interviews. Even the Free Press is crying foul about Snyder’s abrupt 180 — apparently they’re feeling duped, as they should. Two years ago my local paper similarly made a bad call by endorsing the sonorous corporate raider with the headline: Little to lose by voting for Rick Snyder for governor.”  The editor had a few choice words this past week about the Snyder bait and switch routine on Right-to-work.

The fall-out of Snyder’s double-agency will be seen and heard this Tuesday on the capitol steps in Lansing with massive peaceful protests . This time, hopefully without being pepper sprayed.

Snyder had better re-read his Sun Tzu, for he’s in for quite a political battle, and if he thinks More →