Mackinac Center Reveals Interactive Webpage Detailing Labor Reforms and Political Outcomes

Five states’ labor reforms analyzed

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Contact: Dan Armstrong, 989-698-1917

MIDLAND – Today the Mackinac Center for Public Policy released Labor Reform in the States: A Visual Timeline.

Beginning in 2011, the timeline traces the labor reforms enacted in Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, Indiana and Missouri, and the outcomes of the elections that followed. Lawmakers often fear that support for labor reforms will cost them future elections, but the timeline shows the lawmakers and parties who enacted reforms largely retained public support.

“Elected officials can feel secure that, despite unions making a lot of noise against policies that put workers and taxpayers above the special interests, big labor’s threats will fall flat,” said Mackinac Center Director of Labor Policy F. Vincent Vernuccio. “Election after election shows that despite the threats from unions and the politicians they back, voters support pro-worker and pro-taxpayer labor reforms.”

The findings certainly hold true for Michigan, where Gov. Rick Snyder signed right-to-work legislation in 2012 after voters soundly rejected a proposal that would have enshrined collective bargaining in the state constitution. In 2014, voters reelected Snyder, and Republicans added to existing majorities in both the state House and Senate.

Even in Ohio, where voters repealed 2011’s labor reform, Republicans lost only one seat in the 2012 general election and picked up five in the midterms two years later. “From right-to-work not even being a major issue in the first election after Michigan passed worker freedom, to the multiple failed efforts against Wisconsin’s labor reforms, the results are clear: big labor’s bark is much worse than its bite,” Vernuccio said.

Labor Reform in the States: A Visual Timeline is available as both an interactive web page and a .pdf.