Thursday, December 13, 2012
Labor woes in Michigan
Although not specifically related to library or other information workers, the goings-on in Michigan will undoubtedly affect the information sector there and across the United States as Republican lawmakers in the state that union auto workers built passed a bill making Michigan a "right-to-work" state. "Right-to-work," or as Michigan Republicans have taken to calling it, "freedom-to-work" (because who doesn't like freedom?), is a cynical euphemism for state-supported union-busting in which closed union shops (i.e. organized work places in which all workers are members of the union, benefit equally from union membership, and pay equally into the union) are forced open and workers in organized shops are no longer required to be a union member or pay union dues, even though they will still benefit from collective agreements and other work place protections put into place by unions. "Right-to-work" legislation is a bald-faced effort to gut the labor movement in the 23 American states (mostly in the South) in which it exists. The fact that the "right-to-work" movement was successful in one of the bastions of the labor movement, Michigan, comes as a big surprise and will surely have massive consequences across the country. But as Joe Hill said, don't mourn; organize!