Organized Labor’s Violent Response to Michigan’s Right to Work Law



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James Hoffa president of the Teamsters predicted a “civil war” in Michigan after Republican Governor Rick Snyder signed their Right to Work law.  Organized labor while protesting against the legislation while it was being debated in the Michigan Legislature took their anger out on the Americans for Prosperity – Michigan tent and some of their activists as you can see in the videos below:

 

 

Ameiricans for Prosperity’s Michigan State Director Scott Hagerstrom offered the following statement:

The passage of Right-to-Work is a win/win for Michigan. Not only is this legislation critical to Michigan’s economic recovery, it is a victory for workers who for too long, have been forced to join and financially support a labor union.

This is also a win for union protestors, even though they might not know it yet, as they will have the freedom to choose to join a union, and will no longer be forced. I commend Michigan lawmakers who courageously stood up, despite union intimidation and violence, for worker rights.

This is about giving private-sector and public-sector union members in Michigan more rights, not less, by allowing workers to chose whether or not to join a union and how their hard-earned dollars are spent. At the end of the day, Right-to-Work legislation gives workers more freedom and more rights. Isn’t that what democracy looks like?

Despite this victory, it took place amid union brutality and violence. I am saddened by union protestors’ complete disregard for safety and freedom of speech, tearing down an AFP tent and stomping on peaceful AFP demonstrators trapped under the tent.

Fox News Contributor Steven Crowder was assaulted trying to keep union demonstrators from tearing down another tent.

Before Governor Snyder signed the legislation into law he was threatened by a union speaker who said they would be at his daughter’s soccer game, his home, his office and his church.  Here’s the video of that:

 

Michigan Capitol Confidential reported:

Gov. Snyder later that day signed a bill into law making Michigan a right-to-work state. One of his daughters is a 16-year-old high school student.

“Just know one thing, Rick Snyder: You sign that bill, you won’t get no rest,” Williams said. “We’ll meet you on Geddes Road. We’ll be at your daughter’s soccer game. We’ll visit you at your church. We’ll be at your office.

“Because Michigan workers will not take it laying down — by any means necessary!” he said.

Geddes Road is where the Snyder residence is located.

After Williams’ introduction, both representatives gave short speeches with Rep. Greimel ending by leading the crowd in a chant of, “No Justice, No Peace!”

I have friends and family members who are union members and union supporters.  I appreciate in the past a number of things that unions have done.  When they were created they were necessary.  The strange thing about protesting a right to work law is that it isn’t anti-worker at all.  It actually gives workers more freedom.  Reuters reported on what “right to work” laws do:

Right-to-work is generally defined as a state where it is against the law for a union to be a so-called “closed shop,” requiring all employees to join a union and pay dues. The Michigan laws would make membership in a union and payment of dues voluntary and would cover both the private and public sector, except for fire and police unions. Supporters of right-to-work say such laws attract business, encourage investment and allow workers to choose whether they want to join a union. Critics say they suppress wages, weaken the collective bargaining authority of unions and leave workers at the mercy of employers in negotiations over pay, benefits and working conditions.

The laws passed by Republicans in Michigan last week would exempt existing contracts between employers and unions until they expire, such as the automakers’ contract with the United Auto Workers union, which expires in 2015. The so-called grandfather clause would soften the impact of the new law initially, although over time contracts would be subject to right-to-work.

Union arguments against right to work are rather weak.  In a nutshell they promote liberty.  If you want to be in a union and pay for it you are free to.  If you don’t want to be you are free not to be.  It shouldn’t be a condition for employment.  Unions are upset because it will impact membership and their coffers.  This has little to do with workers rights.  They still have the ability to engage in collective bargaining.  There are laws in place, OSHA regulations on working conditions.  They complain they will be at the mercy of employers in negotiations, but in states that are not right-to-work the pendulum had swung and companies were at the mercy of unions.  This brings balance.

The organized labor response to this new law is outrageous, uncivil and irrational.  I would hope that even-handed union members would denounce the violence and the threats being made by their leadership.  Protest and lobby against such laws – that’s fine, but keep it civil.

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  • tony4516

    Many, many things passed through my mind as I watched this happening in Michigan. I was a union member for 38 years, and honestly I feel I have had a better living because of union pay. I always worked in a union shop and always seemed a little upset with people who got our benefits but always refused to join the union. On the other side it always upset me the way the union always protected the worse or the laziest worker. It protected those workers that should have been suspended or fired. But seeing this violence does not surprise me, it seems that by this type of intimidation it keeps people in line. Those people (auto workers UAW) who would really like to like to quit the union won’t dare to, they will stay in for fear of being intimidated by other members. Change will come slowly to smaller shops over time, but Michigan will be a better place in the long term. Just for the record our small shop decertfied the union 11 months ago. It was a good move for us.