Young professionals, members of the media, and political and policy activists came together on June 15 to hear Director of Labor Policy F. Vincent Vernuccio and Union Conservatives President Terry Bowman talk about the future of unions, worker freedom and what is ahead for Michigan’s labor organizations.

America’s Future Foundation’s southeast Michigan chapter hosted the event in Novi. AFF’s mission is to “identify and develop young professional leaders interested in advancing liberty.” The organization hosts events and networking opportunities across the country to discuss policy issues and how they can be resolved.

Bowman, a current UAW member at the Rawsonvile Ford plant, shared his thoughts on the current labor movement and what is in store for contract talks between the Big 3 and the union this fall.

Vernuccio spoke about his two latest studies, “Unionization for the 21st Century: Solutions for the Ailing Labor Movement” and “Worker's Choice: Freeing Unions and Workers from Forced Representation.”

Both Bowman and Vernuccio agreed that the future of the labor movement lies in moving away from compulsion and toward a professional service model. Voluntary unionism is the way forward, whether by unions’ choice in the private sector as detailed in 21st Century Unionism, or by law for both the public and private sector, as detailed by Worker’s Choice.

“From free-market policy wonks to assembly workers on the factory floor, we need a robust discussion about the future of the labor movement. The solution is to move away from compulsion of both workers and unions and embrace choice and competition,” Vernuccio commented after the event.