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Will the Democrats reverse Michigan’s Right to Work Law: Low hanging fruit in today’s Class War

February 15, 2023

In December, we wrote about the campaign to make Michigan a Right to Work state, which took place in 2012. In that article, we noted that there were several West Michigan entities that played a major role in making Right to Work a reality in Michigan. Some of those same groups are now making noise in order to maintain Right to Work for Michigan. 

Legislation to dismantle the Right to Work policy in Michigan were introduced on January 12, with House Bill 4004 and Senate Bill 0005. 

These bills were both sent to the Committees on Labor, which has held no hearings on the matter, nor made any decisions. The Labor committees in both the Michigan House and Senate are dominated by Democrats, which begs the question, Why have they not acted to dismantle Right to Work? 

Groups that pushed for Right to Work in 2012 are now making it a priority to keep Right to Work

The organizations that were involved in pushing Right to Work legislation from 2008 – 2012, such as the West Michigan Policy Forum, the Chamber of Commerce, the Mackinac Center for Public Policy and the Michigan Freedom Fund, have made the issue of maintaining a Right to Work policy a priority in Michigan. 

Fir instance, the Michigan Freedom Fund has only had 3 blog posts on their site since the November 2022 elections, with all three devoted to the importance of maintaining a Right to Work policy in Michigan.

The West Michigan Policy Forum has made five separate blog posts about the importance of having a Right to Work law in Michigan, often using propaganda to justify their stance on Right to Work. For instance, their most recent blog post about Right to Work is from February 8th, with the headline, Fact Check: Right-to-work Helps All Americans Prosper. Not surprisingly, the WMPF blog post provides no hard evidence that Right to Work laws benefit everyone. 

The Mackinac Center for Public Policy has also made a push to maintain Right to Work in Michigan. In fact, since the November 2022 election, the Mackinac Center has posted 16 separate Right to Work articles on their site. In fact, when you go to the main page of there Mackinac Center, at the top of their webpage the issue of Right to Work is featured. They have even created a stand alone page dedicated to Right to Work, where people can post stories about how wonderful Right to Work has been for them 

One interesting side note about these groups that are zealously defending Right to Work laws in Michigan, is the fact that all of them have a direct connection to the DeVos family and their considerable wealth. The DeVos family fully funded the Michigan Freedom Fund, they have contributed millions to the Mackinac Center for Public Policy and DeVos family members have served on the Board of Directors for both the Mackinac Center and the West Michigan Policy Forum. The fact that the DeVos family has been so involved in the work to create and maintain a Right to Work law in Michigan speaks volumes and may have something to do with why the Democrats have yet to take action on the proposed legislation that would dismantle Right to Work in the state. 

One would think that it should be easy for the Democrats to get rid of the Right to Work policy in Michigan, especially since it is very low hanging fruit. Getting rid of Right to Work should be a decisive and swift decision for the Democrats, since the claim to be for workers and have benefitted from the millions that labor unions have contributed to candidates in recent years. In fact, once the Democrats have dismantled Right to Work laws in Michigan, they should make it a priority to raise the minimum wage in Michigan to $25 an hour, which would be more of a livable wage, along with taxing the hell out of the rich to fund housing, education, health care and climate justice work that we can’t wait another decade for. 

Unfortunately, the Democratic Party will not push for more substantive policies that would essentially redistribute wealth in this society, especially since the Dems are also deeply committed to the system of Capitalism. This means that in order to win a contemporary class war, we will need to be in the streets, to democratize our workplaces, to engage in strikes, boycotts and numerous other tactics that will demonstrate our collective power. As Frederick Douglass said so eloquently in 1857, Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. If there is no struggle, there is no progress.

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