The Best Way to Empower Workers

The Detroit News asked Mackinac Center Labor Research Associate Paul Kersey to comment on the best way to empower workers this Labor Day.  The News published his remarks, below, on August 31, 2003.

Paul Kersey, labor research associate of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy in Midland: The steady migration of manufacturing jobs out of Michigan and to right-to-work states is one reason Michigan workers face one of the nation's highest unemployment rates this coming Labor Day. In 30 years, right-to-work states have gained 1.4 million manufacturing jobs, while Michigan, historically a manufacturing giant, has lost 100,000 such jobs.

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Passing a right-to-work law would be the ultimate economic development program, immediately making Michigan much more attractive to companies seeking to expand and build new plants. A right-to-work law would increase the standard of living of Michigan workers by increasing the demand for their skills.

No one should confuse what unions want with the best interests of working men and women, nearly 90 percent of whom do not support a union. Union officials might oppose a right-to-work law, but voluntary unionism recognizes human dignity by leaving the choice to support a union to each worker's individual conscience.