Reuters has a piece out today that details how the cradle of organized labor, Michigan, became a Right to Work (for less) state, and explains why it happened when it did, and as fast as it did. The thing is, it wasn’t just because an attempt to enshrine collective bargaining rights into the state constitution went down in flames:
(Reuters) - As a trained aerospace engineer, Patrick Colbeck applied his penchant for data analysis and “systematic approach” to his new job in early 2011: a Michigan state senator, recently elected and keen to create jobs in the faded industrial powerhouse.
Those skills paid off handsomely for the first-term Republican this week as Governor Rick Snyder signed into law bills co-sponsored by Colbeck that ban mandatory union membership, making Michigan the nation’s 24th right-to-work state.
From outside Michigan Republican circles, it appeared that the Republican drive to weaken unions came out of the blue - proposed, passed and signed in a mere six days.
But the transformation had been in the making since March 2011 when Colbeck and a fellow freshman, state Representative Mike Shirkey, first seriously considered legislation to ban mandatory collection of union dues as a condition of employment in Michigan. Such was their zeal, they even went to union halls to make their pitch and were treated “respectfully,” Colbeck said.
Read the whole thing here.
Another casualty of the 2010 Tea Party wave. Elections do have consequences, and since the GOP won so many statehouses in a census year, they won the right to redistrict, and it looks like they have gerrymandered themselves into power until the end of the decade at least. So I doubt Michigan will be the last state to at least attempt passing a Right to Work (for less) law.