Preserving Michigan’s Right-to-work

You may have seen our recent op-ed in The Detroit News on the benefits of right-to-work. And you may have heard our conversation with Michael Patrick Shiels on Michigan’s Big Show. This critical law is more than a one-time prerogative. Defending all the law has achieved for our state is one of our top three priorities in 2023.

The success has been clear with increased wages, economic development and jobs.

Right-to-work supports worker freedoms. Freedom is at the heart of who we are as Americans, that’s why we’re concerned Michigan’s leaders are planning to abolish a key freedom by repealing right-to-work. The law empowers workers to decide for themselves whether to join a labor union. They are free to choose what is best for them: no one can force them to join a union. And it is clear how Michiganders feel – since the law was passed union membership has steadily declined.

Though the data is clear, it’s the former union members that tell the clearest story. As Bloomfield Hills School teacher and former union member Elizabeth Akers put it, “I did not agree with the union for many reasons. They never represented the needs of the group of teachers that I belonged to (elementary or elective teachers), only the high school teachers.”

Elizabeth took advantage of her freedom to choose what was right for her. All workers deserve that right. Repealing right-to-work will take Michigan back. Many of us remember what Michigan was like during the 2008 recession, often sadly stating that “the last person to leave Michigan should turn out the lights.” If Michigan leaders repeal right-to-work, we’ll be back on that path. With the threat of RTW repeal, we’re already there. A new report ranked Michigan as fourth in out-of-state moves. We’re already on the edge of an emergency – repealing right-to-work will only accelerate it.

And the West Michigan Policy Forum isn’t alone in this conversation. Many voices of key changemakers are leading discussions on why repeal would cripple Michigan. We simply can’t become a top 10 state without allowing right-to-work and all the developments that come with it.

Join us in telling Michigan’s legislature we must preserve right-to-work this year for our state’s future.