By Adam Bitely — Even though Michigan has become a right-to-work state, labor unions are fighting for their lives in such a way that exposes their true motives. Rather than being an advocate for the workers, some public sector unions in Michigan are exposing their greedy ways in their efforts to line the pockets of union bosses at the expense of the workers they represent.
One idea being bandied about by the Michigan Education Association is to sue members who attempt to quit the union. Another idea is to quickly negotiate new labor contracts that last years into the future. But left out of the entire discussion from labor leaders is how the unions could increase the benefits they offer workers so that workers would want to join — not leave.
Michigan Education Association President Steve Cook circulated a memo outlining the idea of suing members who exit the union. As Cook wrote, “Members who indicate they wish to resign membership in March, or whenever, will be told they can only do so in August. We will use any legal means at our disposal to collect the dues owed under signed membership forms from any members who withhold dues prior to terminating their membership in August for the following fiscal year.”
At Western Michigan University, the professors’ union is seeking to extend its contract for 9 more years. The fear among the professors’ unions is that the professors, if given the chance, will bolt from the union as soon as the right-to-work law takes effect. Under the current contract, if a professor fails to pay their union dues, the professor would be suspended from working for two days without pay. Imagine what their new contract, designed solely on retaining members who now have a choice of whether or not to pay, will look like. One can imagine it will look more like Big Labor is fighting their members rather than fighting for them.
As the Wall Street Journal noted on Feb. 4, “The pattern in new right-to-work states is that union membership plunges when it is voluntary. That’s what happened in Wisconsin and Indiana, and it will probably happen in Michigan too.” Labor unions lost 400,000 members in 2012 alone, marking one of the biggest drop-offs in union membership in roughly 80 years.
Public sector unionism is in decline as re labor unions in general. Time and again, members of labor unions who are coerced into paying dues as a condition of holding a job, showing that once the coercive measures are removed, they give up their labor union membership.
Labor unions complain that right-to-work laws are draining them of precious resources needed for protecting workers. But when those same unions come out and threaten lawsuits against their own members, one begins to see through the façade.
If labor unions were indeed such good advocates for workers, the unions should see an increase in their ranks. But the data says otherwise. And because the unions have decided to fight their workers rather than advocate for their workers, they will continue down the road to their demise.
Adam Bitely is the Editor-in-Chief of NetRightDaily.com. You can follow NetRightDaily on Twitter at @NetRightDaily.