Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Waking The Lion

For all that the holiday season is supposed to be a time of peace and goodwill, the sad and disgusting news coming out of Michigan today ultimately should not come as a surprise.

In case you missed it, after a year that began with Michigan's Republican Governor Rick Snyder saying that 2012 was not the year to jam through anti-worker laws, Gov. Snyder and Michigan state Republican politicians are now on the verge of jamming through a major anti-workers rights law - one that may effectively begin an open-ended state of virtual war in Michigan.

As we already noted, this kind of antagonistic behavior from Republicans shouldn't surprise anyone in America today - even during the holiday season. We've already seen similar divisive - and ultimately unsucessful - attacks on workers and the labor movement over the last two years from Republican governors in Wisconsin and Ohio. Judging by the actions of these Republican governors, they seem to figure that, as long as their heads are still attached, they may as well stick them into the depths of anti-union laws.

What harm could there be?

Of course, as Congressman Sander Levin noted on Monday, Gov. Snyder doesn't even seem to understand the real-world implications of the law that he and his Republican state lawmakers are attempting to cram down the throats of the people who elected him. Snyder doesn't even understand how unions work.

In short, as President Obama stated so succinctly in his visit to the Daimler-owned 'Detroit Diesel' shop on Monday, so called 'right-to-work' laws really are "right to work for less" laws. This isn't just a catchphrase.

After years of debate, and insane amounts of research, economists and labor experts agree that, under 'right-to-work' laws, workers reap fewer gains from any economic growth or successes enjoyed by their employers. Wages of workers decrease and benefits are cut back drastically, while executives and their corporate parents benefit handsomely.

Furthermore, 'right-to-work' laws encourage freeloaders by allowing non-union workers to get the benefits of the collective bargaining agreement, while paying nothing for them.

Local economies don't benefit from 'right-to-work' either. In fact, they usually pay an even heavier price, since workers' overall compensation shrinks so drastically. Since workers have less money to spend, the local tax base dries up too. Since workers are making less, they rely on public services more, making the burden on cities and states even worse.

There is no significant economic benefit for Gov. Snyder and his Michigan state lawmakers in trying to cram this through. This is a purely emotional reaction to heavy losses suffered by Michigan Republicans at the state level ballot box in 2012, which will put Republicans in the minority in the Michigan House in January 2013.

Don't think this is something that most Michigan Republican voters wanted either. The Detroit Free Press, who supported Snyder religiously over the past two years, blasted him in their Friday editorial. Gallup polls show Americans across the nation agree with the Detroit Free Press, that Americans want compromise - not violent partisanship.

Even Major League Baseball and Major League Football hate the Republican Governor of Michigan right now - and there will likely be players from both leagues, along with thousands of other Michiganders, protesting at their state capitol today.

We truly hope the Governor does not sign this anti-worker legislation into law today.

If he does, it may be the last legislation he'll get the chance to sign until his term is up.

This was one sleeping lion he should have left alone.

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