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    Throughout Michigan's history, the state has been renowned for the power and number of its unions. The most prominent unions in Michigan are the United Auto Workers and Michigan Education Association. Proponents claim that unions look out for workers, guaranteeing them rights and negotiating higher wages and better benefits which they couldn't get if they were dealing with their employer alone. Opponents of unions say that they abuse their power enabling workers to get wages and benefits exceeding what they deserve and should get based on their performance.

    In Michigan, there is a push from to pass a Right to Work (RTW) law in which employees are not required to join a union if they do not want to, enabling them to stay independent of a union in their workplace even if a majority of people working are a part of one.  This idea is causing major debates between political parties and is a hot topic nationally.  Twenty-two states currently have a RTW law.

    Unions worry that RTW laws may lead to losses in revenue from union dues and are also concerned that these laws make them less influential in policmaking.  RTW advocates argue that this decrease in union power has, in other states, encouraged more businesses to move in and invest due to the increase in production security as a result of the decreasing chance of effective strikes delaying production. People in support of this idea use this information as proof that the law would benefit Michigan and by making it more enticing to possible employers which would increase jobs and also increase much-needed tax revenue.

    Unions have also questioned the ability of companies to move their operations across state lines, as in a recent case involving Boeing.  The airplane manufacturing company recently moved its production from Washington, where union membership is mandatory, to South Carolina, a RTW state.  Unions have filed suit, claiming that this was an unlawful way to discourage future strikes in Washington. Boeing argues that the company moved out of necessity and that they could not "afford a work stoppage every three years," which has been the case in Washington (Boeing and the Union Berlin Wall).

    Republican control of both houses would normally indicate that some sort of legislation will be passed in Michigan.  However, labor union influence, Governor Rick Snyder's refusal to take a stand in the issue, and many other pressing issues which the state is dealing with may leave this issue unresolved in the near term.

     

     

    http://www.freep.com/article/20110918/NEWS15/109180490/Right-work-debate-fires-up-among-Michigan-lawmakers

    http://washingtonexaminer.com/blogs/beltway-confidential/2011/02/strong-argument-favor-right-work-featuring-fa-hayek

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703730804576317140858893466.html Boeing and the Union Berlin Wall ARTHUR B. LAFFER AND STEPHEN MOORE

    http://www.mlive.com/politics/index.ssf/2011/09/rick_snyder_nixes_right_to_wor.html

    http://www.lansingstatejournal.com/article/20110909/NEWS04/109090338/Michigan-Senate-leader-wants-right-work-teachers

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    Meet your Policy Fellow: Evan Martinak

    Evan Martinak is state budget policy fellow for the Michigan Policy Network. Evan is from Walled Lake, Michigan on the east side. He is a student in James Madison College, pursuing a major in international relations and also doubling it with an economics major. He intends to pursue a minor in Philosophy of Law. He is highly involved in student government at MSU. He is a member of ASMSU (The Associated Student of Michigan State University) as well as James Madison College Student Senate. He is also an avid Manchester United fan.