The right-to-work law passed in Michigan this week and setbacks for unions elsewhere stem from the fact that Americans want workers to have freedom of choice rather than being forced to join a union, says Wall Street Journal columnist Kimberley Strassel
Union officials and their allies have plenty of scapegoats for their defeat in Michigan, including “the Koch brothers, the tea party, traitorous legislators, crafty bill-writing,” she writes. But that’s missing the point.
“The unions lost in Michigan — as they've lost elsewhere — because they and their White House compatriots have forced the issue, and in the process forced Americans to take a side,” Strassel says.
“And what we've discovered is that when the choice is between more freedom for workers, more choice for parents, and more tax dollars for vital services or, on the other side, more coercive powers for a special interest — well, that isn't such a hard choice after all.”
Unions have brought their woes on themselves by clinging to unpopular ideas, Strassel says. “The union response to their defeats has been to further ratchet up the aggressive tactics that have hurt them.”
In Michigan, for example, GOP Gov. Rick Snyder made clear he wasn’t looking for a right-to-work bill. “But that changed when Michigan's union movement chose to upset the balance with a confrontational ballot initiative this year that would have enshrined union power in the state constitution,” Strassel writes.
When the initiative received only 42 percent support, right-to-work proponents saw they had public opinion on their side, she says.
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