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Why is Snyder not worried about retribution from Right to Work Law?

December 26, 2012

Recently, the West Michigan business publication, MiBiz, conducted an interview with Michigan Governor Rick Snyder.

In the preface to the interview, the co-authors write, “While many Michiganders may be fuming at the governor as we head into 2013, the business community loves him more than ever.” Such a statement, while not surprising, should make it clear to the majority working class population, that the Governor and the business community don’t give a damn about them.sign

The interview begins with a fairly substantive question where Snyder is asked about making Right to Work a law and how divisive it is in this state. Snyder replies by mostly avoiding the question and falling back on what he says are his two main issues of focus, jobs and kids.

If kids are a focus for the Governor, how does implementing Right to Work legislation helping children of working class families, since we know that wages on average are lower in Right to Work states? Such a follow up question is not asked, instead MiBiz writer move on to the next question, which was the tired Richard Florida mantra of, “attracting more talent” to the state.

Much of the rest of the interview is what one would expect from the business press, corporate wellness and federal health care policy, but the bulk of the interview is really about Snyder’s business plan for the state. When I say business plan, what I really mean is Snyder implementing what the business community wants him to do, which has been his stated agenda all along.

This business plan includes an end to the personal property tax, which Snyder refers to as a, “really obnoxious tax.” What it translates into is less money for municipal governments and more money directed to the private sector. It is the next logical step in the neo-liberal austerity plan, which is nothing more than austerity for the working class and greater wealth for the rich.

MiBiz does come back to the Right to Work question in the interview by asking, Do you fear there could be any retribution from the right to work vote? Snyder’s response is worth posting in its

I hope not. You’re going to find some in the shorter term. (The personal property tax) is still a couple of years out. But we’ve already seen some positive steps even while right to work was going on, in the sense that Detroit lighting got approved and the arena got approved with some bipartisan support. One of the questions is: If you’re a public servant, particularly if you’re an elected official, to say you’re not going to work with someone because they have a difference of opinion is not a good answer. I don’t think that’s appropriate because we should all be focused not on our relationships, but on the customers, who are the citizens.

At this point Snyder should be concerned about potential “retribution” for Right to Work and other laws that were rammed through in the legislation just prior to the end of the 2012 political cycle. There is potential amongst the working class populace and various other sectors – women’s groups, racial justice groups, environmental groups, immigrant community, etc – to make life very uncomfortable for the Governor in the upcoming year. However, if the response from union leaders at the December 11 protest is any indication, Snyder might not have much to worry about until the 2014 election, since it seems that Michigan unions will not follow the example of their fellow workers in Wisconsin by occupying the state capitol and shutting down business as usual. What union leaders made clear on December 11, was that they would focus on an electoral strategy, which seems rather ineffective and a waste of funds that could be better spent on organizing.

The interview ends with MiBiz asking the Governor what keeps him up at night. His response is revealing, since he says, “Generally, I do fine.”

Such an admission should be a clarion call to those in Michigan who feel that Snyder is giving the state away to the private sector. The insurgent forces who are and will continue to be negatively impacted by these state policies should make it a goal to make it so that Snyder does not sleep well, nor the capitalist class which put him in the Governor’s seat.


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