Labor Pains: Because Being in a Union can be Painful

Labor In Michigan Scrambles To Prove Its Worth

A funny thing happened on the way to right to work. Labor unions may realize they have been neglecting members.

In the wake of Michigan becoming the 24th right-to-work statenumerous commentators have recognized that if employees aren’t forced to be members, unions may actually have to appeal to them. What a novel idea—free choice. It’s not something that most unions are used to dealing with. That’s reflected in the clear disconnect in political spending done by labor.

And even in employment and collective bargaining matters, unions don’t appear to have even the most basic employee interests in mind — like making sure theykeep their jobs. As was the case in the Hostess bankruptcy and eventual liquidation, the leadership of the Baker’s Union (BCTGM) was willing to push the entire enterprise over the cliff, putting thousands of people out of work. It continued to spin myths about the prospects of a buyout in order to encourage solidarity. The BCTGM’s failed campaign against American Crystal Sugar has left thousands of its union members out of work. Meanwhile, BCTGM President Frank Hurt and his family continue to collect thousands in compensation.

Labor has valued and measured its members only for the amount of clout they can help the leadership wield. In forced-unionism states, unions do not need to be concerned with “selling” membership because it is compulsory. Members look more like numbers and dues checks and less like individuals. In Michigan, labor must now consider individual employees and not take them for granted.

Categories: Center for Union FactsPolitical Money