Labor, Michigan Republicans, Rick Snyder, unions — January 9, 2013 at 12:25 pm

New report reveals claims about Right to Work benefits are bogus


Oh, gee. What a surprise.

A new report out this week from Bridge Magazine reveals that Governor Rick Snyder’s claims about the benefits of Right to Work for Less (RTWFL) are a sham. It points to evidence coming out of Indiana which became a RTWFL state in 2012 that shows companies that have moved there did so for reasons that had nothing to do with crushing unions and driving down worker pay.

For example, Android Industries is portrayed as having moved to Indiana because of the new RTWFL status. However, the Bridge piece reveals that’s a load of manure.

“Recently, Indiana became a right-to-work state and offers us a competitive location and a skilled work force to complement our state of the art technology,” the firm said in a statement in March 2012. “All of these factors went into choosing Indiana as an optimal location.”

But a closer look belies that claim, since Android Industries, in fact, laid plans for the Indiana expansion well before it became law in February 2012.

An official at the plant confirmed as much to a reporter last month.

“Right to Work has nothing do with us being here,” said Jeremy Urshel, listed as human resources generalist for the firm. Another official said the firm signed the contract with GM in November 2011.

In fact, Indiana officials were proclaiming the success of RTWFL in February. However, the law didn’t actually affect any union contracts until March 15.

Another company that is touted as having set up shop in Indiana because of their new law, MBC Group, isn’t even a union shop.

In Indiana, though, the first firm cited as evidence Right to Work was paying off quickly backtracked on public statements from the [Indiana Economic Development Agency (IEDC)].

“We are not a union shop. The effect that this was going to have was not going to affect our decision one way or another,” said Eric Holloway, president of MBC Group, whose company makes hard plastic packages for electronics such as cellphones and chargers. Its $4.1 million expansion in eastern Indiana is expected to create some 100 new jobs.

Officials at a suburban Indianapolis steel mill told Bridge Magazine an expansion there had nothing to do with Right to Work, despite a statement from IEDC suggesting otherwise.

“It was really not a factor,” said Barry Schneider of Steel Dynamics, Inc. “We are a non-union facility.”

Bridge contacted the IEDC several times to help identify a manufacturing operation whose plans had changed due to Right to Work, but IEDC did not identify such a firm.

Snyder himself claims that businesses are lining up to take advantage of Michigan’s new RTWFL law which has some people now calling us “Michissippi” since it encourages exploitation of our workers. Which companies are those? Well, Snyder conveniently declines to identify them.

This farce has even drawn the derision of the generally conservative Livingston County Press & Argus editorial staff who today has a great op-ed titled ” Snyder ought to skip world free of facts “.

Snyder’s transition to a political creature was inevitable. What’s discouraging is in so doing, he has embraced the data-free universe where too many legislative Republicans live.

If the right-to-work argument is so persuasive, why not present the case in public hearings? One possible answer, as shown by the Indiana examples, is that clear examination might expose the law for what many suspect it is — a political payback to Democrats and labor unions.

As the Bridge article points out, you can point to studies that support both sides of the RTWFL argument. What this means is that the effort was not based on solid facts and was, in fact, simply a way to crush unions and encourage a race to the bottom for Michigan workers trying to raise families and support themselves in a difficult economy. Rather than elevating our state by making attractive to businesses through improved infrastructure, excellent schools and a just being a great place to live, they want to lower our workers’ wages so that they can be exploited to benefit corporate bottom lines.

Given that they have taken no action on the things that truly would make Michigan a great place to live and do business, it’s clear that the end result, if we don’t turn this around, will be that Michigan not only has one of the lowest standards of living in the country, but it will also take its place among states that have little to offer prospective investments.

Are you ready to work to turn this around in 2014? You better be. The fight starts today.

[Photo credit: Anne C. Savage, special to Eclectablog]