Here are a few articles on the subject:
CNN Money: http://money.cnn.com/2012/12/10/news/economy/michigan-right-to-work/
CBS News: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-34222_162-57558290-10391739/obama-takes-on-union-fight-in-michigan/
NBC News: http://nbcpolitics.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/12/10/15825072-gop-set-to-deliver-blow-to-labor-in-union-heavy-michigan?lite
This Open Forum is dedicated to a discussion on Michigan's impending new Right-to-Work law.
My opinion, in short, is that while I support this move, I want to establish my opinion on unions first: I'm vehemently opposed to unions. I think they're an all-too-powerful entity that inefficiently extracts over-compensation from employers at the cost of the employer's livelihood, while often over-rewarding workers who undeservingly receive higher-than-market compensation. I think unions engage in shady, often violent, strong-arm tactics, and I think they disrupt the notion of freedom and free markets. I think that any time a wage rate is artificially altered whereas the settled-upon rate is not a decision reached by employer and his/her employee on an individual basis (yes, workers are all different, and they work individually and get paid individually), market forces get distorted and the employer usually loses out. Unions are monopolistic beasts, sucking up the supply of labor in what is usually a "pay/compensate us more or no one works" proposition. I think they're unethical, out of date, and I think they do more harm than good.
But I don't think they should be outlawed.
After reading this you might think, "what the heck does he stand for?"
My answer: Freedom.
People can assemble as they see fit. Unions can exist as they see fit. If they want to strike and attempt to push wages higher by absorbing all the labor in a geographic area, making labor so rare that employers must pay a higher wage in order to attract someone to work, so be it (though it is interesting; collusion is illegal on the business side). On the flip side of that coin, if an employer wants to skirt the unions' move to hire workers, so be it. Additionally, if the employer wants to relocate, so be it. It's simple free-market economics. From the employer's view, if labor is too expensive, the employer can try to find someone who is willing to do the work, or it can leave. From the workers' view, if the wage rate is too low, they can try to push for higher wages either together on on their own. Yes, this is how freedom works.
But no where in this country should someone be compelled to join a union. Joining a union should not be a requirement for employment. It must be stated that it's up to the worker to choose for whom he shall work. For example, if I don't like my employer's sick-day policy, I can leave and work somewhere else. Similarly, if I don't like the idea that my employer only hires union employees, I can choose not to work there. This is free market labor economics 101. The problem lies in the issue of collusion. If ALL employers hired only union employees, (again, this is usually achieved by the maneuvers of the union, often engaging in strong-arm, monopolistic tactics), where does the freedom to choose lie for an employee? Of course, one can argue that based on my recent writings about Modern Federalism, that if an employee doesn't like it, he can seek employment in a different state, and that's a fair argument. But at the same time, I'm not sure that's an apples-to-apples comparison. Being required to assemble into an organization that doesn't represent an employee's wishes seems un-American. In order to pursue happiness, an American usually has to work, and work begets sustenance. A requirement for sustenance should not be a choice between compulsion into assembling into a union or remaining unemployed. In my opinion, while unions should have the right to exist, they shouldn't have the clout and power they do. I believe Right-to-Work laws, as basic as they seem, should be passed in every state. I think it's a fair balance between allowing unions to exist and the workers being able to choose if they'd like to join one or not. Frankly, I'm tired unions saying, "this will reduce our power." In my opinion, that's a good thing. Employment shouldn't be about "power"... it should be about working for whom you see fit, with whom you see fit, and under whom you see fit, for a wage you see fit. Freedom to choose is the essence of Right-to-Work legislation, and I'm not sure how that gets washed over in the media.
What do YOU think? Do you agree with Right-to-Work laws? Do you support Michigan's move? Please share your thoughts and opinions below.