By Greg Campbell
In an effort to shore up his “friend of the union man” cred, President Obama spoke yesterday to a crowd in Redford, Michigan. With more of the “tax the rich” rhetoric designed to inflame the masses while omitting the fact that the “rich” are the ones paying the salaries and doing the hiring, Obama spoke with frankness about the looming fiscal cliff and Michigan becoming the 24th right-to-work state.
In a campaign-style event seething with rhetoric that seemed to only be absent the central term, “worker-controlled means of production,” Obama noted,
You only have to look to Michigan -- where workers were instrumental in reviving the auto industry -- to see how unions have helped build not just a stronger middle class but a stronger America. So folks from our state’s capital, all the way to the nation’s capital, they should be focused on the same thing. They should be working to make sure companies like this manufacturer is able to make more great products. That's what they should be focused on. We don't want a race to the bottom. We want a race to the top.”
Right to work laws means providing workers more flexibility in participation of unions and how those unions are run. They provide both employees and employers enhanced decision-making capabilities and offers a solution to punishing over-regulation.
I find it odd that Obama would ask us to “look to Michigan” as a means of seeing what’s right about unions. I intend no disrespect to the fine people of Michigan or union workers who have had to choose between joining unions and not working, but Michigan has adopted a right-to-work stance precisely because the union stronghold created disaster for Michigan- because the union stronghold slowly and painfully capsized Detroit.
We want a stronger middle class; we want a “race to the top.” But in what universe is Obama’s policies coupled with unions’ job-killing extortion tactics the means of facilitating success?
In other news related to the value that unions have brought to the automotive industry, 13 Chrysler union workers who, in 2010, were fired for drinking and smoking marijuana on their lunch breaks were reinstated at their jobs this week.
Chrysler was not pleased about having their arms twisted and stated,
“While the company does not agree with the ultimate decision of the arbitrator, we respect the grievance procedure process as outlined in the collective bargaining agreement and our relationship with the (United Auto Workers union). Unfortunately, the company was put in a very difficult position because of the way the story was investigated and ultimately revealed to the public. These employees from Jefferson North have been off work for more than two years. The time has come to put this situation behind us and resume our focus on building quality products that will firmly establish Chrysler Group’s position in the marketplace.”
Thanks to union-backed arbitration, the workers who make the cars in which we drive now don’t have to fear legitimate consequences from being drunk and stoned at work- the unions will fight for their “right” to do whatever they please at the cost of public safety or overall personal responsibility.
No, the days of Pinkerton’s busting union lines have long passed. We need to focus on the best possible ways to create long-term employment opportunities, and squeezing and extorting industries is not the way to do that.