Proving that he’s either doesn’t understand the right to work legislation he just signed or that he’s extremely good at lying through his teeth, Michigan Governor Rick Synder joined the crew of Morning Joe today to defend his abrasive attack on unions in the heart of the nation’s auto manufacturers, as reported by ThinkProgress.
Here’s the video:
Unfortunately for him, no one else was buying it. In a nutshell, Snyder believes he’s making Unions an even better bargain for workers in Michigan by making them work harder for their dues, saying:
This is about a relationship between unions and workers. And this is about giving workers the freedom to choose, and unions have to be in a position to present good value proposition. If you look at the history of unions in Michigan, we a very strong labor movement here. If you go to the last century, people flocked to joins the unions because they saw value in that. Fast forward to today, shouldn’t unions still have to present a value proposition, and if they do people will join. People will want to be part of a union. And if they don’t provide value, people shouldn’t be forced to pay for something they don’t see any value in. So again, this should make unions more effective in terms of having to put a value proposition to workers.
Ignoring the mind-numbing hypocrisy of Synder extolling the historical virtues of organized labor in Michigan while he actively works to destroy it, he’s selling a very old GOP talking point. According to Synder, mandatory union membership makes the unions bloated and inefficient, taking the members’ dues while providing nothing in return. However, mandatory union membership has been disallowed in this nation for decades. The true grit in right to work legislation comes from stripping the ability of unions to charge dues for the services they render, first and foremost the pay and benefit negotiations they conduct with the employer in question. In a right to work state, the employees decide whether or not to pay dues to the union, but then receive the benefits of union-conducted negotiations regardless. There’s no other model for an organization like this in the U.S. – imagine if you still received all the water you wanted from your city’s public works department but could then could then decide whether or not to pay for the service they already provided because, hey, free water. How long can any organization afford to give away its services?
Despite claims to the contrary, this is the entire point of right to work legislation – it has nothing to do with “adding value” to union membership. But undercutting the financial support unions rely on to conduct their business and forcing them to give away their services, they weaken the ability of unions to represent labor (thereby increasing the odds that any employment terms will favor the employer to a higher degree) and simultaneously deal a huge blow to one of the largest historical backers of Democrats nationwide. This is the Republican ultimate – cheaper labor for the ‘job creators’ and less financial support for their Democratic opponents. Is it any wonder Michigan Republicans pushed this through in a lame duck session?