My, my, Governor. That didn’t take long.
Remember when Governor Snyder and his Republican colleagues were telling us all how important making Michigan a Right to Work state was for improving our economy? “It’s freedom to work!” they said. “It will make us competitive with other states!” they claimed. “It will create more and better jobs!” they told us.
Turns out that even Governor Snyder doesn’t believe that tripe. Less than a month after his Economic Development Corporation spent $144,000 on a full-page ad in the Wall Street Journal touting our new Right to Work status as one of the attractive benefits of setting up shop in Michigan, this week Snyder admitted it’s all a damn lie.
“Over 90 percent of the jobs that you’re looking at aren’t going to be in a situation where right to work is even relevant,” Snyder said in the hotel’s Ambassador Ballroom. “Let’s keep in mind what the economy is really about. Why not embrace the great things going on and be more positive?
“Let’s not live in the Michigan of the past where we fought. Let’s learn from it and recognize that we’re in the Michigan of 2013, but let’s be planning for the Michigan of 2025 and a great place for all of these young people.”
I’m not sure which is more galling, the fact that he is admitting the Right to Work isn’t an economic issue (which it is not) or his suggestion that, after all of the attacks on union members and the poor and the middle class in Michigan, we should all just go lie down by our bowl and be quiet.
He is, of course, right on the first point. Less than a fifth of Michigan workers belong to unions so the overall impact on whether or not a company chooses Michigan as a place to invest is minimal. That’s especially true given that basically half of the country’s states are now Right to Work. It’s simply not a competitive situation when everyone else is doing the same thing. It is, simply put, just a way to crush unions and lower wages overall. And, though they make up less than a fifth of the work force, those union jobs DO help keep wages at a level that builds our middle class and has since the middle of the last century.
Right to Work has never been more than a blatant attempt to strip power from unions. It puts the power in the hands of the corporations and kneecaps one of the most reliable financial contributors to the Democratic Party. With the far more corporatist Republicans in the driver’s seat, politically-speaking, corporations will, over time gain even more power. They almost saw their fondest dream come true when Mitt Romney, King of the Corporatists, came within a few percentage points of winning the 2012 presidential election. But, with corporatist Governors like Rick Snyder and Wisconsin’s Scott Walker and Florida’s Rick Scott, they are still well on their way to ultimate political success unless we put the brakes on them.
I’ll say this much about Snyder’s admission that Right to Work was never about economic improvement: I never, ever thought he’d admit it just a month later.
[CC Snyder photo credit: Michigan Municipal League | Flickr]