Rod Meloni: 'Right to Work' explained

Rod Meloni explains 'Right to Work' and how it may affect Michigan

Author: Rod Meloni, Local 4 Business Editor, @RodMeloni
Published On: Dec 12 2012 08:17:07 PM EST   Updated On: Dec 12 2012 09:55:52 PM EST
DETROIT -

Michigan’s Right to Work vote yesterday came with a lot of emotion. It also came with a lot of questions. Since there was no committee process and only limited debate in the Legislature the questions surrounding right to work largely went unanswered.

Yes we know unions say it is something just short of blasphemy to even consider right to work in the cradle of unionism because it is sheer union busting. The opposition says it’s about fairness. It says requiring workers to join a union and keeping their dues paid and up to date as a condition of employment is against their right to association.  

But that’s the political spin. What are the numbers? Where do you get a fair look at right to work and its impact?

Getting those answers from what anyone we might fairly consider unbiased is quite difficult. I worked especially hard at this today and found a study from Northwood University and Dr. Tim Nash, an economics professor. I spoke with him and he assured me there was a team that worked on this study that came from both sides of the political spectrum. He assured me their work is not doctrinaire and it DOES NOT emanate from the Richard DeVos Graduate School at Northwood. Many on the union side of this debate would take great exception to that considering DeVos put a lot of money behind the right-to-work effort. That would also give me pause about quality of the study if it were.

The net-net of the competitiveness study tells us the nation’s money and business growth are moving away from right to work states. It also says non-right to work states still have much better wages.

The actual focal point is the State of Texas and how the rest of the nation stacks up to its business climate. Within the body of that research the entire Right to Work/Non-Right to Work comparison is spelled out. I read the study today and came away thinking there is no particular point of view except that Texas is one great place to live and do business.

Now, personally I have been to Texas and would not put it high on my list of places I would consider packing up the family and moving to any time soon. But, clearly a lot of people are doing just that. In this debate, that is precisely the question at play. Where is the money, the job growth, the population moving? Republicans in the Michigan Legislature see this and want Michigan in on that party.

The union opposition insulted, angry and indignant about that consideration and the Republican’s power politicking forcing this down their collective throats. For its part, the union side has its own studies that say Right to Work destroys jobs and wages and uses Oklahoma as its focal point.

For a different perspective that one you are likely to have seen or been part of in this debate, I urge you to read this study. Anyone interested in Right to Work issues, has questions about the economics behind it, wonders whether Right to Work hurts or helps there are answers here. The facts about where the capital in America is moving, where we as a nation stand internationally regarding economic competition, what our national debt will mean to us all are in there alongside the Right to Work issues. There are some scary statistics and an enlightening perspective well worth your time and energy.

Read: Michigan Chamber of Commerce Competitiveness Study