As Michigan legislators were debating a "right to work" measure, since approved and signed into law, labor union officials proclaimed it was a dastardly assault on workers' rights to unionize.
It is no such thing. About half the states have laws similar to Michigan's new statute.
"Right to work" laws could be described accurately as freedom of choice guarantees. All they do is ensure that if a working man or woman does not want to join a union, he or she cannot be compelled to do so through a closed- or union-shop contract with an employer. That's it.
Unions still enjoy the same power to organize as they did in the past, with the exception they cannot force anyone to join them and pay dues.
Many of the liberal politicians critical of the action in Michigan would describe themselves as "pro-choice" in a different context.
Apparently that attitude does not extend to whether unions should be able to coerce workers.
The violent behavior of some union people at the Michigan capital on the day of the "right to work" vote was despicable, dangerous and below the standards of responsibility that are supposed to accompany freedom of speech. Our best guess is the abhorrent behavior is a sign of frustration as the union culture fades away, having grown past principles on which it was correctly founded.
The dirty little secret is states such as Michigan neighbor Indiana are gaining jobs with "right to work" legislation and companies are flocking to those states, as employment statistics will bear out. The worthy needs of workers were the foundation of unions. Political strongarming and outlandish demands now at their center make them largely irrelevant to many people today.
The law was passed because the majority wanted it.