We hope Republicans and Governor Rick Snyder aren’t intimidated, because they have the moral and policy high ground. Union activists want voters to believe that right-to-work laws deny union organizing rights, or ban collective bargaining. President Obama peddled this distortion on Monday in Redford, Michigan, claiming that “what we shouldn’t be doing is trying to take away your rights to bargain for better wages and working conditions.”
Right to work does no such thing. It empowers individual workers. As allowed under the 1947 Taft-Hartley Act, right to work merely lets individual workers choose for themselves if they want to join a union. The laws prevent closed union shops, which coerce individual workers to join unions and to pay union dues. A teacher who opts out under right to work, for example, could save several hundred dollars in annual union dues that go to political causes he may not even believe in.
Unions loathe right to work because they know that many workers would rather not join a union. Americans have seen what happened to the auto and steel industries, the Post Office and so many others. Unions can extract monopoly wages and benefits for a time from a profitable industry, but often at the cost of making that industry less competitive and eventually at the cost of union jobs. Thus did Teamster work rules—cake and bread had to be delivered in separate trucks—cost the bakery workers their jobs at Hostess. Right to work gives workers a choice.