Paul Kersey is director of labor policy at the Illinois Policy Institute and served as director of labor policy at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy from September 2007 to May 2012.

Kersey holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from the University of Michigan-Dearborn. In 1993, he received his Juris Doctor from the University of Illinois.

After practicing law in Livonia, Mich., for several years, Kersey served on the staff of the U.S. House of Representatives Government Reform and Oversight Committee. He then spent three years at the National Right to Work Committee as director of state legislation. In that role, he analyzed and responded to labor legislation in all 50 states.

Snyder the Tax Cutter?

If Rick Snyder really wants conservatives and tea party activists in his corner and energized, and if he really wants to reinvent Michigan next January, the next step will be dust off one of his own position papers and show some leadership on business tax relief. … more

...And a Few More Questions for Virg

Mayor Bernero, last week during an interview with Paul W. Smith, you made the case that as governor you would have a better chance of developing good working relationships with government employee unions based on your experience as mayor of Lansing. … more

Another Question for Snyder

Why do you think morale is so low among unionized government employees? … more

The Defendants Plead Guilty, Your Honor

In two separate cases over the last month, two Michigan union officials pled guilty to violations of federal law. … more

Bob King's First Amendment

Actually, workers ought to have the full range of First Amendment rights — to join a union, to not join a union, to contribute to causes they believe in, to withhold support from causes they don’t believe in, and to hear speech that is not screened by union officials first. … more

Mike Bouchard and Right-to-Work Legislation

Whether Mike Bouchard is acting out of principle or pragmatism, one can only hope that more gubernatorial candidates follow his lead. … more

Selective Disclosure

There is no reason, aside from political calculation, why unions should not be subjected to the same level of scrutiny as political parties, companies, or issue groups like the Chamber of Commerce. If anything the scrutiny should be even closer because so much of their funds are drawn from union dues that workers must pay or lose their jobs. … more

Big Waste, Bad News

Two bills are working their way through the House of Representatives in Lansing that would change the process of binding arbitration, which is used to resolve contract disputes between local governments and their employees. One of these bills is, at best, a complete waste of time. The other is just a lousy idea. … more

The Man Who Would Be (Bob) King

Does the UAW need another association with a failed automaker? … more

Throwing Down the Gauntlet

Michigan would benefit from having a few elected officials with the nerve to issue the sort of challenge that Gov. Christie has made. … more

A Tale of Two Counties

Here we have two very similar, fairly wealthy counties; one engages in collective bargaining with its employees on rules similar to Michigan’s Public Employment Relations Act, the other doesn’t. One is coping with the recession well, the other is struggling with political infighting. The implications for Michigan are hard to miss: A lot of local governments in Michigan would be better off without collective bargaining. … more

Live From New York, It's Saturday Night Labor!

The abuses of power perpetrated by government employee unions are well known and established enough to serve as comedic fodder nationwide. … more

The MEA President Lays on the Guilt Trip

At bottom, Michigan Education Association President Iris Salters’ latest commentary in The Detroit News is an attempt to lay a guilt trip on Michigan taxpayers, essentially saying, "If you really cared about your children you’d send us more money." This sort of manipulation can be annoying when it comes from an acquaintance. When it comes from the president of a multimillion dollar government employee union and lobbying group, it’s bound to be expensive. … more

Is This the Death Blow for the Living Wage?

Municipal living wage ordinances are on very thin ice. … more

Checking on the UAW

The LM-2 forms for 2009 are up on the Department of Labor website. Let’s look at some of the highlights. Up first, the United Auto Workers. It was a tough year all around for the crew at Solidarity House: … more

But I Thought That Went Without Saying ...

Right-to-Work is on the minds of a lot of people who make their living paying close attention to Michigan politics. … more

Intellectually Bankrupt

One reads and rereads Hoffa’s musings in vain for some hint of a solution to the state’s problems — even a misguided one — but there is none. Hoffa has no answers. … more

Unfinished Business

The actual competitiveness of the Big Three never rated highly as a value for the government’s restructuring of the industry, and the UAW has shown it is prone to act cavalierly towards those same companies as they struggle back toward profitability. … more

Becker Appointed to NLRB

If we are to treat the workplace as political rather than as an economic arrangement, its politics ought to be fully democratic, respecting the rights of all interested parties to speak. … more

'Cause You Know It Don't Matter Anyway

There is a bitter irony in seeing the president of the state’s most powerful union lecture the people of Michigan about decisions she disapproves of from her perch in one of the safest jobs in the state. … more

Local Officials Call for Help

If Michigan wants to recover from its economic doldrums, it would help if local governments could get their finances back in balance. And if local governments are going to balance their books, it would help if they could get some relief from labor laws that empower unions at the expense of taxpayers… more

Union Corruption Update

Recent charges and guilty pleas involving union officials. … more

Quick! Change the Subject

Teamsters President James Hoffa would love to manipulate Tea Partiers for his own purposes. … more

Nicely Played, MEA!

The MEA gave up nothing in the "Race to the Top" deal. They made no concessions in terms of teacher compensation or performance. They may — depending on just how the law is interpreted — have made privatization, which has saved school districts and taxpayers across the state millions of dollars a subject of collective bargaining again. Oh, and the state hasn’t gotten a nickel in federal funds so far. … more

35, 34, 33...

Wages for state employees have gone up half again as fast as they did for workers throughout the state. Certainly they can afford to go without an across-the-board raise this year. … more

36 Days

The bottom line is the Legislature has always had the authority to prevent pay raises authorized by the CSC, and collective bargaining agreements between the state and unions representing its employees have always been subject to the Legislature’s acquiescence. … more

37 Days

The process of collective bargaining cannot be allowed to trump the will of the people or the public interest; otherwise, our representative government is in danger of morphing into a plutocracy controlled by government employee unions, who could use collective bargaining to lead the rest of the state around by the nose.
We have 37 days to restore fiscal sanity in Michigan. … more

Kermit the Frog Meets the Underpants Gnomes: Ron Gettelfinger's Pitch for Green Auto Jobs

The UAW chief tells us that there are 190,000 new automotive sector jobs about to be created, and we can have them all right here if Republicans and Democrats do…something. What exactly Gettelfinger hopes they will do isn’t spelled out or even hinted at but it probably involves gobs of taxpayer money. … more

Don't Look Now

The important thing is that the leadership of the GOP in Lansing thinks, at a minimum, that it can score political points by promoting right-to-work protections, which is a big shift for a state in which unions have held sway for so long. … more

Give. It. Up.

Binding arbitration isn’t a last resort in EFCA: It’s the specialty of the house. … more


If you had the UAW’s record, you’d be tempted to hide behind a great man’s rhetoric of 40 years ago, too. … more

Welcome to Bizarro World

It is a bizarre world indeed when the MEA claims to be the taxpayers' champion. … more

Respect My Authoritah!!!

While labor law can be complicated and intimidating, school districts and the public should take a union’s claims about its own authority with a proverbial grain of salt. … more

At Ford, Grievances Are Job One

Since UAW workers are looking forward to profit sharing, it shouldn’t come as a shock if the company restores some perks for its white-collar work force as well. … more

Senator Prusi's Bright Idea

Prusi says: "If they're negotiating out of fear, then they don't belong at the negotiating table."
He has a point. … more

Anybody Got a Sword?

Sometimes the best answer to  a complex problem is the simplest one. … more

Creatures of the State

The American labor movement reached what may prove to be a critical milestone last year when government employees, for the first time ever, made up a majority of union members. … more

Bishop Unveils Reform Proposals

A quick take on the Senate GOP's reform plans for Michigan. … more

Cadillac Hacks

Okay, it’s a cynical deal, but union workers can at least take comfort in knowing that their unions are looking out for them, right?
Well, maybe not... … more


Investigations by the US Department of Labor Office of Labor Management Standards led to two officials from AFSCME Local 100 in Pontiac being brought up on charges from the embezzlement of nearly $40,000 of union funds. … more


You see a lot of union members at political rallies. One can’t help but wonder how many are genuine volunteers who are motivated by support for the union’s agenda, and how many are there for the money. … more

Union Corruption Update

Nevada contractor pleads guilty to bribing Michigan union official. … more

We're Not in Kansas Any More

And we've never been anywhere quite like Pandora. … more

While I Was Away

Catching up on a couple of items left over from before my Christmas vacation. … more

Rebutting Gaffney on PA 312 and Binding Arbitration

A point-by-point rebuttal of AFL-CIO President Mark Gaffney's defense of PA 312, which establishes that bargaining impasses between local governments in Michigan and unions representing police and fire department personnel will be resolved via binding arbitration. … more

Stop the Madness!

Before Detroit Public Schools can return to some degree of effectiveness — let alone excellence — the sheer craziness of its labor relations strife must be resolved one way or another, and that means that DFT, or at least the radicals in DFT who are pushing for a strike, must be confronted and made to pay a steep price for their incompetence and recklessness. … more

Um, What's the Opposite of "More"?

One might think Detroit public school teachers are grossly overcompensated and overprotected, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have a legitimate beef with union officials who promised them “more, more, more” without bothering to ask where it would come from. … more

Relationship Problems

The already problematic relationship between the State of Michigan and the Service Employees International Union is becoming more and more troubling as SEIU Local 517M reached terms for changes to their contract with the state of Michigan. As we have reported on this blog, another SEIU subsidiary, the Member Action Services Center, received $2 million in refundable MEGA tax credits last month. … more

The MEA's LM-2 Report for 2008-2009

The MEA's 2008-2009 LM-2 report at your fingertips. … more

Tidbits From the MEA's Recent Financial Report

The union is slightly less bloated, but its top officers are still doing pretty well. … more

SEIU/MASC: Curiouser and Curiouser

MEDC moved fast to secure a union operation for Michigan, but did it really need to? … more

What's Hiding Under the MASC?

The Michigan Economic Growth Authority has granted a $2 million tax credit to the Service Employees International Union that appears to be "refundable," meaning that it's actually a cash subsidy if this union operation has no tax liability. In that case, Michigan taxpayers would be paying for an SEIU office that could also be used for union organizing or political activism. The MEDC's response to persistent Mackinac Center attempts to confirm this has been, well, unresponsive. … more

What The...?

The value of MEDC itself is dubious and this grant to SEIU is especially so. … more

From South Detroit to Shockandawe

A pattern of sorts is starting to emerge: When one hears numbers of “jobs created or saved” by various government programs, it appears to be more and more likely that such numbers were pulled by someone out of the vicinity of his or her own back pocket. … more

Are Detroit City Retirees Being Taken Advantage Of?

This wouldn’t be the first time Detroit city employee unions turned a blind eye toward graft. Did the unions ever register any protests about how the boards operated? … more

No Thanks, I'm Full

Obesity is a real problem, but if there’s a public health problem that can be addressed with the sort of top-down, one-size-fits-all approach that is typical for government, obesity is not it. … more

The Horror of It All

The U.S. House of Representatives has just posted on the Internet its health care overhaul bill, HR 3962, “To provide affordable, quality health care for all Americans and reduce the growth in health care spending, etc.” All 1990 impenetrable pages of it.  But this bill isn’t just longer than a Stephen King novel, it’s also scarier, because aside from the title, this tome is all nonfiction. Bill+Books … more

Local Right-to-Work

A carefully written “local option” law passed by the state legislature could work. … more

Leaving Some Key Facts Behind

Governor Granholm and certain quarters of the state media have been very excited by a recent report from the Department of Energy, Labor, and Economic Growth extolling the success of the No Worker Left Behind Program, but the report leaves a lot of questions unanswered. … more

This Should Get Their Attention

The City of Detroit has stopped collecting dues on behalf of 16 unions that have yet to reach new agreements with the city of Detroit.  This is a provocative but much-needed step that serves to discipline city employee unions. … more

Foul Ball

Some advice for the Detroit Tigers on the ticket tax: if you're going to oppose one proposed tax increase, you may as well oppose them all. … more

Pushing on a String

Yesterday, the Department of Energy, Labor, and Economic Growth announced that its “No Worker Left Behind” program had achieved its goal of enrolling 100,000 participants almost a year early ... This is good news if you don’t think about it too much.  On closer inspection though it looks more like the state is pushing on a string. … more

Bing's Gambit

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing may succeed in pushing city unions into accepting concessions this time, but ordinarily state labor law would give the unions the upper hand. … more

Is MSU Hyping Project Labor Agreements?

Project Labor Agreements are at best an unnecessary headache for both government and contractors. At worst they are another payoff for uncompetitive unionized construction. … more