Mike Bouchard and Right-to-Work Legislation

Principled or pragmatic, either way it's a good move

It must be acknowledged that there is more than a whiff of political calculation in Mike Bouchard’s embrace of right-to-work. The Oakland County sheriff and GOP gubernatorial contender trails in most of the independent polls. Embracing RTW gives him a way to distinguish himself from the rest of the field and generate enthusiasm among grass-roots conservative leaders and tea party activists who are paying closer and closer attention to the role that unions have played in Michigan’s economic struggles. Polls have consistently shown that a majority of Michigan voters support right-to-work in principle (that includes union households — check out question 20 here) and most of his primary competitors have at least left the door open for RTW as well. So why not embrace a potentially winning issue and see if you can ride it into the governor’s mansion?

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And if Bouchard’s decision to support right-to-work involves political opportunism, well, the same could be said of the Emancipation Proclamation. That doesn’t make right-to-work a bad idea, and it doesn’t reflect poorly on Bouchard for raising it at the time and in the manner that he has.

Freeing Michigan workers from the obligation of supporting a union movement that has become more and more damaging to workers' real interests, making union officials more accountable to the actual people they represent, attracting employers back into the state — this is a worthwhile effort and whether Bouchard is acting out of principle or pragmatism, one can only hope that more gubernatorial candidates follow his lead.