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LINDA MCMAHON: Gretchen Whitmer Is Selling Workers A Lemon

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Linda McMahon Linda McMahon is the Chair of the Board of the America First Policy Institute
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If there were a law that forced everyone to buy their cars from one dealership, do you think the dealer would really care about the quality of the cars? Of course not. They just want to sell cars, and without competition or choice, they would have no incentive to ensure quality. That is exactly what Governor Whitmer is doing to the hard-working men and women of Michigan by repealing the state’s “right-to-work” legislation. By doing so, she is giving workers no choice but to have a portion of their paycheck deducted to pay a union they may not want to buy from.

Unions, like any business, only exist under the promise of providing high-quality services to their members.

Recognizing that Michigan’s workers should be able to make their own decision as to whether to join a union, the state’s lawmakers passed a “right-to-work” law in 2012. This law abolished union security agreements and gave workers the power to choose whether to support unions financially. (RELATED: ALFREDO ORTIZ: Don’t Believe The Jobs Day Hype — Americans Are Still Getting Poorer)

Unfortunately, Whitmer, with help from her allies in the legislature, has replaced the will of the people with her own judgment by repealing Michigan’s right-to-work legislation, claiming that her actions are necessary to “restore workers’ rights, protect Michiganders on the job, and grow Michigan’s middle class.” However, regardless of whatever the governor preaches, Michigan workers are now deprived of a fundamental freedom: to choose where, when, and on what they spend their money.

One important question that the Michigan governor fails to address is: What rights and protections were taken away by the right-to-work law? Right-to-work laws are the very thing that expand workers’ rights and protections by giving them the ability to only financially support unions that advance their interests. If a union does not help a worker by obtaining safer working conditions or higher pay and instead spends workers’ union dues on political expenditures, then workers should be able to choose not to join them and to keep their hard-earned dollars.

Workers have good reason to be skeptical of giving their money to union bosses who have a long, demonstrated history of committing fraud and embezzlement. Over the past decade, two presidents and several senior leaders of the United Auto Workers have been convicted on charges of embezzling more than “$1.5 million [in] membership dues and $3.5 million from training centers” for “expensive cigars, wines, liquor, golf clubs, apparel, and luxury travel.” Right-to-work laws mean that when workers see corruption like this, they can pull their financial support for their union and instead invest that money in their families.

Some union bosses, like Gary Casteel, have come out publicly in favor of right-to-work laws. While serving as the former southern region director for the United Auto Workers in 2014, Casteel said,

This is something I’ve never understood that people think right-to-work hurts unions. To me, it helps them. You don’t have to belong if you don’t want to. So if I go to an organizing drive, I can tell these workers, “If you don’t like this arrangement, you don’t have to belong.” Versus, “If we get 50 percent of you, then all of you have to belong, whether you like to or not.” I don’t even like the way that sounds, because it’s a voluntary system, and if you don’t think the system’s earning its keep, then you don’t have to pay.

Furthermore, academic data goes against Governor Whitmer’s position. After the passage of right-to-work laws, employee satisfaction and relations with management while on the job have both improved. Additionally, in Michigan, manufacturing employment has grown more than twice that in neighboring Ohio, a state which has had forced unionization since 2013. In fact, recent studies from National Economic Research Associates and the Mackinac Center for Public Policy found that right-to-work states have experienced faster private sector employment growth, personal income growth, and manufacturing output than their union-mandated counterparts, including large double-digit increases in transportation and warehousing employment. All of these statistics are simply explained in a recent Harvard University study that found that there are “meaningful [positive] differences in economic outcomes” between right-to-work states and forced unionization states, citing the benefits of higher employment-to-population ratios, higher wages, higher population growth, and lower poverty. These findings illustrate an expansion of Michigan’s middle class and greater upward mobility for the families of these American workers in right-to-work states. (RELATED: STEPHEN MOORE: Democrat Stooges Are Taking This State Back To Rust Belt Poverty)

But instead of listening to the voters, the data, and union members, a majority of whom support keeping right-to-work legislation on the books, Governor Whitmer has chosen to do the bidding of the politically well-connected union bosses who want to force unionization. Michiganders can’t afford to accept what she is selling, particularly when she is selling out the American worker.

Linda McMahon is the Chair of the America First Policy Institute and the former Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration.

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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