(Editor’s note: The following is an edited version of a letter Mackinac Center President Joseph G. Lehman recently sent to Center supporters.)
To outside observers, Michigan seemed to become a right-to-work state in seven days flat last December. Gov. Rick Snyder declared that his agenda included worker freedom on a Tuesday, and lawmakers introduced bills on Thursday, which he signed the following Tuesday. But those seven days were actually more like the last six inches of a 99-yard touchdown drive. You can’t score without that last play, but you can’t even attempt that last six-inch play unless you somehow move the ball continually closer to the goal line in the first place.
Our right-to-work timeline marks milestones that span considerably more than that week in December. We show the history of how the idea was developed and advanced by Mackinac Center analysts and others. For a while, Mackinac Center experts were nearly alone in saying that no worker should be fired for refusing to financially support a union. But others, crucial to the cause, joined us in time.
You may have seen our recent letter paraphrasing the words of Ben Franklin: Lawmakers have given us a right-to-work law, “if we can keep it.” The unions will probably attack it with all they’ve got this year and next, and they’ll probably learn from their 2012 Proposal 2 debacle which, ironically, created the conditions for RTW legislation.
We’ll be making the intellectual and evidentiary case for worker freedom wherever it must be defended — in the news media, the public square or the court of law. That includes our legal defense of three teachers in the Detroit suburb of Taylor who object to a deal that would keep taking union dues from their paychecks for 10 years after RTW passed.
Don’t forget about our 25th anniversary gala celebration on Oct. 7 in East Lansing. Whole Foods CEO John Mackey will be the keynoter. He’s the author of “Conscious Capitalism,” a great book that takes on myths about those who create wealth in a free society.
Joseph G. Lehman is president of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, a research and educational institute headquartered in Midland, Mich. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is hereby granted, provided that the author and the Center are properly cited.