Civility be damned in Michigan
Rich Lowry writing in Politico:
Civility is one of the most absurdly abused of our political values. It is always centrally important to our functioning as a democracy - right up until the time someone proposes crossing the unions. Then, it goes from "can't we all get along?" to "nothing to see here." Then, out come the Hitler signs, the accusations of dictatorship, the huge inflatable rats, the sit-ins, the threats and even the fists, and all anyone can think to say is, "Isn't it a shame someone had to go and get the unions angry?"
State Rep. Douglas Geiss achieved his 15 minutes of notoriety by taking to the floor of the Michigan Legislature to warn "there will be blood" in response to the right-to-work law. He couched his prediction in terms of past corporate-union conflicts, namely the Battle of the Overpass in 1937, when Ford Motor Co. toughs assaulted United Auto Workers organizers.
But why would Michigan companies want to beat anyone up over a right-to-work law? Come to think of it, why would anyone consider a law allowing people hired at a unionized shop to decide freely whether or not to join a union an incitement to violence? No one is forced to join the Rotary Club, yet Rotarians peaceably go their way without any bloodshed.
Outside the Michigan Capitol, as the right-to-work law was debated, union protesters tore down the large organizational tent of the pro-right-to-work free-market group Americans for Prosperity and punched Fox News contributor Steven Crowder. This wasn't exactly the Battle of the Overpass, when Walter Reuther got kicked down flights of stairs. Crowder sustained a chipped tooth and small cut on his forehead. But it was notable who was doing the punching.
I found this FAQ about right to work pretty much down the middle and accurate:
What do supporters say?
Right-to-work supporters argue that it makes states more attractive to business, creates jobs and gives employees more choices. Supporters cite studies suggesting that job growth and private-sector compensation in right-to-work states have increased more rapidly than in other states.
"The case for right-to-work has always rested on the importance of defending worker freedom, but right-to-work laws also have a proven track record of encouraging economic growth," Will Collins of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation wrote Monday.
Opponents cite studies indicating that wages and growth are lower in right-to-work states, and they say that such legislation is little more than an effort to bleed unions in the name of worker freedom and choice.
"There is scant evidence these laws create jobs, help workers, or are good for a state's economy, as supporters claim," analysts for the liberal think tank Center for American Progress wrote earlier this year. "Instead, these laws weaken unions and thereby hurt workers, the middle class, and local economies."
Critics also say that such laws allow nonunion workers to "freeload" -- gain the benefits of union representation without shouldering the burden of paying for it.
As an aside, unions do not have to negotiate on behalf of non union - "freeloader" - members. As for the rest of the opposition argument, take your pick of which stats and studies to believe.
A civil conversation about right to work will be impossible anyway in Michigan. This is a red line for organized labor and they will do their best to intimidate, threaten, and coerce people into getting rid of the law.