Paul Kersey is director of labor policy at the Illinois Policy Institute and served as director of labor policy at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy from September 2007 to May 2012.

Kersey holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from the University of Michigan-Dearborn. In 1993, he received his Juris Doctor from the University of Illinois.

After practicing law in Livonia, Mich., for several years, Kersey served on the staff of the U.S. House of Representatives Government Reform and Oversight Committee. He then spent three years at the National Right to Work Committee as director of state legislation. In that role, he analyzed and responded to labor legislation in all 50 states.

Advice for Gov. Snyder

Forced to make a snap decision with little guidance, a legislator could do a lot worse than to find out what proposal government union officials object to the most and vote for that. … more

Burn Notice

The union establishment's position of influence and privilege is liable to become more and more precarious unless they can re-establish themselves in the private-sector workforce — which may be why a labor board appointed by an administration that benefited mightily from union support is going to great lengths to help unions out in any way they can. … more

Scheduled Saginaw Prevailing Wage Repeal Vote Quietly Killed

The Return of the Company Union

A weakened union that is overly compliant with the company's priorities is what used to be known as a "company union," and unionists used to treat them with suspicion if not contempt. But that was when the union movement was a genuine worker movement. … more

All The Cool Guvs Are Doing It

Rick Snyder has yet to tackle collective bargaining directly, but he has taken a pretty firm line on government employee benefits something that’s bound to make union officials in Michigan uncomfortable. … more

Two Governors

Leaders of our fellow upper-Midwestern states are starting to zero-in on government employee unions. It will be interesting to see if Michigan's incoming governor takes a stand on this issue. … more

Exactly What Unions Are Expected to Do

Government employees have every right to lobby and hire lawyers, but the public is not obligated to give in to their wishes or pay for those lobbyists and lawyers. … more

Right-to-Work: Resistance Is Feudal

The notion of "fundamental privileges" that government cannot withdraw without causing some sort of "disruption" is antithetical to republican government, though it would fit well in a feudal society, with its complex web of privileges and obligations that tied individuals to their stations in life. … more

How to Swipe $200K From Your Union

A UAW Local's bookkeeper cut herself an extra paycheck every week for four years. It would seem union financial reporting standards could afford some tightening up. … more

Governor's Picks for the Civil Service Commission Will Matter

Snyder has promised “customer oriented” government. If he wants to influence how state employees do their work on a “retail” level, or address state employee compensation, he will need to pay attention to this panel, be patient and put serious thought into his CSC appointments when they come up. … more

It Shouldn’t Take a Superhero to Fix Public Education

Mike Barone Gets It

Government employee unions have morphed into a permanent, taxpayer-funded lobby for big government. Any movement, like the Tea Parties, that wants to reduce the scope of government will need to confront and defeat government employee unions — and if they are to have any lasting success, it will be essential that government employee unions lose taxpayer funding. … more

Go for the Movie, Stay for the Audience Reaction

Well-meaning progressives may hope that the teachers unions will embrace reforms at some point, but by now they should realize that the chances of that happening are infinitesimal. Failing that, they face a stark choice between allowing public schools to continue to fail, or confronting a teachers’ union movement that is both one of their most important creations and most generous political benefactors. Davis Guggenheim has shined a light on the progressives’ predicament. It will be interesting to see how they handle it. … more

Pocket Full of Kryptonite

The problem isn’t individual teachers, it’s a larger system that protects mediocrity and incompetence, and elevates political correctness over the fundamentals of reading, writing, math, science and history. And teachers unions like MEA have been both the strongest defenders and the largest beneficiaries of this system. … more

A Little Good News for Kids and Taxpayers

Taxpayers and students won a small but potentially very important victory Friday when administrative law Judge David M. Peltz found that the Legislature did not give unions the authority to sidetrack privatization of non-instructional services by school districts. … more

Reconsidering Worker Rights

Federal labor law isn’t supposed to provide for workers to be unionized after the company makes an agreement with a union. Union representation is supposed to be the workers' own choice. … more

Ain't No Party Like a Chrysler Party

Last night, Channel 2 News in Detroit busted a group of about half a dozen workers at Chrysler's Jefferson North plant drinking and smoking pot during their lunch break. Do we really need TV cameras to prevent UAW workers from getting buzzed on their lunch breaks? … more

Escape Is Never the Safest Path

Storm Front

If anyone in Lansing is serious about helping Detroit, this would be a good time for a bill that would suspend collective bargaining for government employees in the city, so that Detroit's leadership can make the tough choices and make the most of the resources it has. … more

Grand Rapids Press Recognizes Importance of Right-to-Work in Michigan's Future

Last Sunday, The Grand Rapids Press released a new study on the likely effects of a right-to-work law on Michigan’s economy as part of its ongoing “Michigan 10.0” series. … more

Studying Right to Work

A new poll shows 51 percent of likely voters in Michigan support right-to-work. … more

It Would Be a Living...

New non-union auto jobs in right-to-work Mississippi pay $15 an hour and even in a tough economy they are relatively easy to find. … more

Snyder the Tax Cutter?

If Rick Snyder really wants conservatives and tea party activists in his corner and energized, and if he really wants to reinvent Michigan next January, the next step will be dust off one of his own position papers and show some leadership on business tax relief. … more

...And a Few More Questions for Virg

Mayor Bernero, last week during an interview with Paul W. Smith, you made the case that as governor you would have a better chance of developing good working relationships with government employee unions based on your experience as mayor of Lansing. … more

Another Question for Snyder

Why do you think morale is so low among unionized government employees? … more

PowerPoint Postscript

The Defendants Plead Guilty, Your Honor

In two separate cases over the last month, two Michigan union officials pled guilty to violations of federal law. … more

An Open Letter to Rick Snyder

An Open Letter to Virg Bernero

Oakland County Gives Local Governments Something to Shoot For

Bob King's First Amendment

Actually, workers ought to have the full range of First Amendment rights — to join a union, to not join a union, to contribute to causes they believe in, to withhold support from causes they don’t believe in, and to hear speech that is not screened by union officials first. … more

Mike Bouchard and Right-to-Work Legislation

Whether Mike Bouchard is acting out of principle or pragmatism, one can only hope that more gubernatorial candidates follow his lead. … more

Selective Disclosure

There is no reason, aside from political calculation, why unions should not be subjected to the same level of scrutiny as political parties, companies, or issue groups like the Chamber of Commerce. If anything the scrutiny should be even closer because so much of their funds are drawn from union dues that workers must pay or lose their jobs. … more

Analysis: The Man Who Would Be (Bob) King

Big Waste, Bad News

Two bills are working their way through the House of Representatives in Lansing that would change the process of binding arbitration, which is used to resolve contract disputes between local governments and their employees. One of these bills is, at best, a complete waste of time. The other is just a lousy idea. … more

The Man Who Would Be (Bob) King

Does the UAW need another association with a failed automaker? … more

Throwing Down the Gauntlet

Michigan would benefit from having a few elected officials with the nerve to issue the sort of challenge that Gov. Christie has made. … more

More and More a Political Animal

A Tale of Two Counties

Here we have two very similar, fairly wealthy counties; one engages in collective bargaining with its employees on rules similar to Michigan’s Public Employment Relations Act, the other doesn’t. One is coping with the recession well, the other is struggling with political infighting. The implications for Michigan are hard to miss: A lot of local governments in Michigan would be better off without collective bargaining. … more

A Law Unto Itself

Whether the standards that the community establishes for police officers be strict or lenient, the setting and enforcement of standards for police conduct is a duty that must be performed by local officials under the scrutiny of citizens themselves.  Oversight of law enforcement is a role that should never be bargained with a union or delegated to arbitration. … more

The Michigan Zombie Child Care Council

Live From New York, It's Saturday Night Labor!

The abuses of power perpetrated by government employee unions are well known and established enough to serve as comedic fodder nationwide. … more

The MEA President Lays on the Guilt Trip

At bottom, Michigan Education Association President Iris Salters’ latest commentary in The Detroit News is an attempt to lay a guilt trip on Michigan taxpayers, essentially saying, "If you really cared about your children you’d send us more money." This sort of manipulation can be annoying when it comes from an acquaintance. When it comes from the president of a multimillion dollar government employee union and lobbying group, it’s bound to be expensive. … more

Is This the Death Blow for the Living Wage?

Municipal living wage ordinances are on very thin ice. … more

Checking on the UAW

The LM-2 forms for 2009 are up on the Department of Labor website. Let’s look at some of the highlights. Up first, the United Auto Workers. It was a tough year all around for the crew at Solidarity House: … more

But I Thought That Went Without Saying ...

Right-to-Work is on the minds of a lot of people who make their living paying close attention to Michigan politics. … more

Intellectually Bankrupt

One reads and rereads Hoffa’s musings in vain for some hint of a solution to the state’s problems — even a misguided one — but there is none. Hoffa has no answers. … more

Analysis: The UAW could still tear Detroit down

Unfinished Business

The actual competitiveness of the Big Three never rated highly as a value for the government’s restructuring of the industry, and the UAW has shown it is prone to act cavalierly towards those same companies as they struggle back toward profitability. … more

Inside Baseball

Becker Appointed to NLRB

If we are to treat the workplace as political rather than as an economic arrangement, its politics ought to be fully democratic, respecting the rights of all interested parties to speak. … more

'Cause You Know It Don't Matter Anyway

There is a bitter irony in seeing the president of the state’s most powerful union lecture the people of Michigan about decisions she disapproves of from her perch in one of the safest jobs in the state. … more

Local Officials Call for Help

If Michigan wants to recover from its economic doldrums, it would help if local governments could get their finances back in balance. And if local governments are going to balance their books, it would help if they could get some relief from labor laws that empower unions at the expense of taxpayers… more

Is This the Downsizing Detroit Needs?

Recent Developments in Union Corruption Cases

Union Corruption Update

Recent charges and guilty pleas involving union officials. … more

Quick! Change the Subject

Teamsters President James Hoffa would love to manipulate Tea Partiers for his own purposes. … more

Nicely Played, MEA!

The MEA gave up nothing in the "Race to the Top" deal. They made no concessions in terms of teacher compensation or performance. They may — depending on just how the law is interpreted — have made privatization, which has saved school districts and taxpayers across the state millions of dollars a subject of collective bargaining again. Oh, and the state hasn’t gotten a nickel in federal funds so far. … more

35, 34, 33...

Wages for state employees have gone up half again as fast as they did for workers throughout the state. Certainly they can afford to go without an across-the-board raise this year. … more

36 Days

The bottom line is the Legislature has always had the authority to prevent pay raises authorized by the CSC, and collective bargaining agreements between the state and unions representing its employees have always been subject to the Legislature’s acquiescence. … more

37 Days

The process of collective bargaining cannot be allowed to trump the will of the people or the public interest; otherwise, our representative government is in danger of morphing into a plutocracy controlled by government employee unions, who could use collective bargaining to lead the rest of the state around by the nose.
We have 37 days to restore fiscal sanity in Michigan. … more

Kermit the Frog Meets the Underpants Gnomes: Ron Gettelfinger's Pitch for Green Auto Jobs

The UAW chief tells us that there are 190,000 new automotive sector jobs about to be created, and we can have them all right here if Republicans and Democrats do…something. What exactly Gettelfinger hopes they will do isn’t spelled out or even hinted at but it probably involves gobs of taxpayer money. … more

State Government Employee Unions Prosper in Midst of Recession

Don't Look Now

The important thing is that the leadership of the GOP in Lansing thinks, at a minimum, that it can score political points by promoting right-to-work protections, which is a big shift for a state in which unions have held sway for so long. … more

Give. It. Up.

Binding arbitration isn’t a last resort in EFCA: It’s the specialty of the house. … more

The Michigan Zombie Child Care Council


If you had the UAW’s record, you’d be tempted to hide behind a great man’s rhetoric of 40 years ago, too. … more

Lansing Proposes, the MEA Disposes

Welcome to Bizarro World

It is a bizarre world indeed when the MEA claims to be the taxpayers' champion. … more

Respect My Authoritah!!!

While labor law can be complicated and intimidating, school districts and the public should take a union’s claims about its own authority with a proverbial grain of salt. … more

My Book Report on Plunder

At Ford, Grievances Are Job One

Since UAW workers are looking forward to profit sharing, it shouldn’t come as a shock if the company restores some perks for its white-collar work force as well. … more

Senator Prusi's Bright Idea

Prusi says: "If they're negotiating out of fear, then they don't belong at the negotiating table."
He has a point. … more

Equality of Sacrifice

Anybody Got a Sword?

Sometimes the best answer to  a complex problem is the simplest one. … more

Creatures of the State

The American labor movement reached what may prove to be a critical milestone last year when government employees, for the first time ever, made up a majority of union members. … more

Bishop Unveils Reform Proposals

A quick take on the Senate GOP's reform plans for Michigan. … more

Cadillac Hacks

Okay, it’s a cynical deal, but union workers can at least take comfort in knowing that their unions are looking out for them, right?
Well, maybe not... … more


Investigations by the US Department of Labor Office of Labor Management Standards led to two officials from AFSCME Local 100 in Pontiac being brought up on charges from the embezzlement of nearly $40,000 of union funds. … more


You see a lot of union members at political rallies. One can’t help but wonder how many are genuine volunteers who are motivated by support for the union’s agenda, and how many are there for the money. … more

Union Corruption Update

Nevada contractor pleads guilty to bribing Michigan union official. … more

We're Not in Kansas Any More

And we've never been anywhere quite like Pandora. … more

While I Was Away

Catching up on a couple of items left over from before my Christmas vacation. … more

The Expensive Mystery of “Project Cherrywood”

Rebutting Gaffney on PA 312 and Binding Arbitration

A point-by-point rebuttal of AFL-CIO President Mark Gaffney's defense of PA 312, which establishes that bargaining impasses between local governments in Michigan and unions representing police and fire department personnel will be resolved via binding arbitration. … more

Stop the Madness!

Before Detroit Public Schools can return to some degree of effectiveness — let alone excellence — the sheer craziness of its labor relations strife must be resolved one way or another, and that means that DFT, or at least the radicals in DFT who are pushing for a strike, must be confronted and made to pay a steep price for their incompetence and recklessness. … more

Um, What's the Opposite of "More"?

One might think Detroit public school teachers are grossly overcompensated and overprotected, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have a legitimate beef with union officials who promised them “more, more, more” without bothering to ask where it would come from. … more

Relationship Problems

The already problematic relationship between the State of Michigan and the Service Employees International Union is becoming more and more troubling as SEIU Local 517M reached terms for changes to their contract with the state of Michigan. As we have reported on this blog, another SEIU subsidiary, the Member Action Services Center, received $2 million in refundable MEGA tax credits last month. … more

The MEA's LM-2 Report for 2008-2009

The MEA's 2008-2009 LM-2 report at your fingertips. … more

Tidbits From the MEA's Recent Financial Report

The union is slightly less bloated, but its top officers are still doing pretty well. … more

SEIU/MASC: Curiouser and Curiouser

MEDC moved fast to secure a union operation for Michigan, but did it really need to? … more

What's Hiding Under the MASC?

The Michigan Economic Growth Authority has granted a $2 million tax credit to the Service Employees International Union that appears to be "refundable," meaning that it's actually a cash subsidy if this union operation has no tax liability. In that case, Michigan taxpayers would be paying for an SEIU office that could also be used for union organizing or political activism. The MEDC's response to persistent Mackinac Center attempts to confirm this has been, well, unresponsive. … more

What The...?

The value of MEDC itself is dubious and this grant to SEIU is especially so. … more

From South Detroit to Shockandawe

A pattern of sorts is starting to emerge: When one hears numbers of “jobs created or saved” by various government programs, it appears to be more and more likely that such numbers were pulled by someone out of the vicinity of his or her own back pocket. … more

Are Detroit City Retirees Being Taken Advantage Of?

This wouldn’t be the first time Detroit city employee unions turned a blind eye toward graft. Did the unions ever register any protests about how the boards operated? … more

No Thanks, I'm Full

Obesity is a real problem, but if there’s a public health problem that can be addressed with the sort of top-down, one-size-fits-all approach that is typical for government, obesity is not it. … more