Right-to-Work Is Here

Michigan’s right-to-work law takes effect today, meaning that unions cannot get employees fired if they choose not to financially support the union.

Labor Policy Director F. Vincent Vernuccio discussed the issue on WWJ AM950 in Detroit and participated in a live web chat with the Lansing State Journal today at 11 a.m.

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“Job creation is going to take a while, but the message is out,” Vernuccio told the State Journal. “While you are not going to see a million jobs come to Michigan in April, you are seeing Michigan on the right track.”

Vernuccio also thinks right-to-work will make unions stronger in the end.

“Unions helped build this country, but their business model is old,” he told Michigan Public Radio. “They need to put the individual first, they need to stop railing against merit pay, not letting good workers succeed, forcing workers to accept a contract if they don’t want to.”

Vernuccio and Terry Bowman, founder of Union Conservatives, were featured in a story about the day's significance on FOX2 Detroit.

The Morning Sun in Mount Pleasant, the Royal Oak Daily Tribune and The Macomb Daily all note that Center experts have touted the benefits of right-to-work for some two decades.

The Detroit News explains that union members won’t be able to immediately exercise their new freedoms under right-to-work, but must wait for current contracts to expire. The News detailed how several school districts around the state have circumvented the new law by signing contract extensions over the past several weeks, locking members into paying forced dues for up to a decade.

Angela Steffke, one of three teachers in the Taylor School District suing the Taylor Federation of Teachers and the school board for a 10-year extension on dues, told The News: “That 10-year security clause gives them a decade to hold us hostage because you’re not allowed to exercise your choice to hold them accountable.”

Steffke and the other two teachers, Rebecca Metz and Nancy Rhatigan, are being represented by the Mackinac Center Legal Foundation. The Detroit Free Press also noted the case.

MLive cited a 2012 study from the Michigan Chamber of Commerce that showed the economic benefits enjoyed by right-to-work states. The study was led by Dr. Timothy G. Nash, chief operating officer at Northwood University and an adjunct scholar with the Center.

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