Warren Mayor Jim Fouts statement on right-to-work
“Statistics show that workers in right-to-work states generally earn less then workers in non-right-to-work states.
“Studies show right-to-work laws do not lead to higher employment rates; instead, they simply lead to lower wages and benefits, as workers lose leverage to negotiate pay increases.
“Today, only 7 percent of private sector jobs are unionized which means the gap between incomes of owners and workers is becoming larger.
“The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in October reported that private sector and nonfarm workers in right-to-work states averaged $743.67 a week and workers in states without right-to-work laws make $804.62.
“The Economic Policy Institute in Washington, D.C. recently published an article about Indiana’s right-to-work experience and reported state and local tax credits and state assistance packages played (less hyped) roles in attracting new businesses to the state.
“The article noted how Busche Enterprise obtained $750,000 in assistance from the Indiana Economic Development Corp., the state’s main economic development agency and recruiter. The article also noted that Indiana’s right-to-work law didn’t keep Busche from recently acquiring another plant site in October for a separate project in Alabama, its first non-Indiana production site.
“The new state law states that non-union employees and union employees both receive all benefits negotiated in a contract. The difference is non-union members do not pay union dues while union members pay dues that pay the salaries of union members who negotiated the contract. And non-union members now get represented by unions in conflicts with employers.
“I call this representation without participation.
“An exhaustive study by economist Lonnie K. Stevans of Hofstra University found that states that have enacted such laws reported no increase in business start-ups or rates of employment. Wages and personal income are lower in those states than in those without such laws, Stevans concluded, though proprietors’ incomes are higher.
“The Governor and State Legislature have divided our state and every workplace in our state by this right-to-work law.
“And the worst part is that the new law is immune from a referendum because it is attached to an appropriation. So, Michiganders had no input in the legislation and have no voice in overturning this legislation. This is undemocratic and un-American because it violated our constitutional right to reverse a legislative decision.
“As President Obama said at a diesel plant in Redford, Mich., on December 3,
‘These so-called right-to-work laws, they don’t have to do with economics, they have everything to do with politics. What they’re really talking about it giving you the right-to-work for less money.’
“Finally, this law is a slap-in-the-face to union members, their families and union retirees whose gains in the workplace have raised wages and benefits and made the workplace safer, even for non-union employees. Our standard of living in Michigan is higher for everyone because of union-won gains at the bargaining table.
“For a free bumper sticker (not printed at taxpayer expense), anyone should call my office at 586-574-4520. It may be the only way to register protest to this unfair legislation.”