Between some very high-profile scandals and a strike, the United Auto Workers was in the news quite a bit this fall. Thanks to Michigan being a right-to-work state, workers don’t have to support a union whose actions they may not agree with. As Jarrett Skorup and James Hohman wrote in The Wall Street Journal, “Workers have options these days. The UAW can no longer rely on their compelled support, and it would do well to listen more closely to the concerns of its members and represent those interests above all else.” Unfortunately, this strike demonstrated that UAW leaders weren’t really looking out for workers, as the average GM worker had very little to gain from it. F. Vincent Vernuccio, a senior fellow with the Mackinac Center, covered this point in an op-ed published by CNN, and in an op-ed for The Detroit News, he examined how Congress was trying to protect UAW members. Chris Douglas, a member of the Mackinac Center Board of Scholars, wrote two pieces for CNN, detailing the effect sthe strike had on workers. After the strike ended, James Hohman appeared on Fox Business to talk about Michigan’s economy and whether it took a toll on the state.
New reforms in Michigan will make expungement — the process of getting a past criminal offense off or sealed from the public record — a bit easier. In an op-ed in The Detroit News, Jarrett Skorup wrote about how these reforms would not only benefit individuals, but also taxpayers. And as David Guenthner was quoted as saying in a Detroit News article, “[O]nce people have completed their sentences and shown over time that they are dedicated to a law-abiding path, they deserve the opportunity to get out from under their past mistakes.” Guenthner was also quoted by the Detroit Free Press, and he wrote an op-ed about the importance of these reforms for The Hill.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s line-item veto of Pure Michigan funding sparked a flurry of important discussions on state-funded subsidies. The Mackinac Center has long advocated ending them, and within hours after the veto, several media outlets turned to us for comment. Michael LaFaive was quoted by the Detroit Free Press, NPR, WKFR, Bridge Magazine, Michigan Advance and MLive.
The Lansing State Journal published an op-ed by Jason Hayes on the Line 5 debate. In the piece, Hayes discussed the “Green-Blue Divide,” a new schism in progressive ranks. The Line 5 debate makes it clear that Democrats must deal with competing interests in their party, namely blue collar workers and green activists. Hayes, who was born in Western Canada, co-authored a piece in The Hill that suggested offering statehood to Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and the interior of British Columbia. These provinces depend on natural resources such as oil and gas to survive, and unfortunately, the October Canadian election threatens their very livelihood. While it’s a stretch to think the U.S. would offer them statehood, it’s important for governments to recognize a the needs of their citizens.