Right-to-work landscape in the Rust Belt region

Here is a look at the landscape in some Rust Belt states that have pushed for right-to-work plans in recent years — some successfully, others not:
Associated Press
Dec 12, 2012


Local reaction to Michigan's Right-to-Work law -- in Saturday's Register.



Illinois has not seen a serious right-to-work movement largely because of a near Democratic lock on the General Assembly in the past 30 years. During much of that time, the state had Republican governors, but they tended to be moderates who dealt with labor amicably. And when the GOP held the state Senate during the 1990s, there were many moderate Republicans from suburban Chicago who balanced out more conservative lawmakers from central and southern Illinois.


The Republican-controlled Legislature in Indiana approved right-to-work earlier this year. House Democrats walked out in 2011 for five weeks to block the measure by denying the GOP majority the numbers needed to conduct business. The state's quasi-public economic development corporation says a handful of companies have expanded operations in part because of the law.


The labor stronghold of Michigan became the 24th state to enact right-to-work on Tuesday when the House approved the final version of the legislation and Republican Gov. Rick Snyder signed it hours later. Snyder had previously maintained that right-to-work wasn't a priority for him, but the plan sailed through the GOP-controlled Legislature after he announced his new position last week. While labor unions said the move would be disastrous for worker rights and benefits, Snyder insisted the plan is actually "pro-worker."


Ohio voters in 2011 overwhelmingly rejected a sweeping law that placed restrictions on public employee unions. Republican Gov. John Kasich says making Ohio a right-to-work state is not among his priorities and that he sees other ways to keep the state competitive. However, a group called Ohioans for Workplace Freedom has been circulating petitions for a ballot measure that would keep workers covered by labor contracts from having to join a union or pay dues.


Pennsylvania labor unions have been largely successful in pushing back against efforts by first-term Republican Gov. Tom Corbett to dramatically scale back their gains. But Corbett says the state apparently lacks the political will to enact right to work. However, his spokesman says the governor would support such a bill if it reached his desk.


Wisconsin's Republican-controlled Legislature in 2011 voted to pass Gov. Scott Walker's proposal that effectively ended collective bargaining for most public workers and forced them to pay more for health insurance and pension benefits. Walker argued it was a cost-saving move, but unions said it was designed to cripple their political power. Walker did not propose right-to-work legislation and has said that is not a priority, but he's stopped short of saying he would veto such a measure.



Licorice Schtick

"Right-to-work" is a euphamistic misnomer. Anyone who says it benefits workers is a liar or a fool.


Would "Anti-shakedown" legislation be a better term for it?

Licorice Schtick

No better and no worse. Same kind of lie. Conservatives need to distort, lie and cheat to win 51% of the vote when they're helping only the top 1%.


Very good point!!!!!

Follow the money !!!!!!

the office cat

@I... it gives employees who don't join the right to earn the same salaries and benefits as those paying dues. The 'new' American way.


Pay cuts in pay & bennies for Gov. Kasick & Mike DeWine. (They don't know work)


Follow the money and you'll find union busting efforts like this funded by people like the Koch brothers. They sure aren't looking out for the interests of working people.


Freedom of choice is one of the most basic of our civil liberties, and must be championed at every opportunty. Right to Work laws are without question, and un-arguably pro-worker. Forcibly taking an employee's money to pay for union representation is no different than taking payroll taxes to fund the lives of those who are too lazy to provide for themselves.

We now have child labor laws to protect our children, OSHA to enforce safety regulations, overtime laws, and minimum wage laws- all championed by unions in the early 20th century. A minimum acceptable standard is in place. As such, labor unions have outlived their usefulness in many ways.

Licorice Schtick

Un-arguably? Nonsense. "Right-to-work" is widely regarded as a euphamistic misnomer in all objective analysis.

It benefits employers and supresses unions by weakening their negotiating position.

It is not and never was designed to protect works' rights - that specious argument it is a favorite lie of business-lacky politicians because it's the only case they can make that it benefits ordinary people in any way. Only fools really believe it.

The idea that unions are no longer needed is another specious myth. ALL employed people are better off thanks to unions, but backsliding is rampant as unions are weakened and the losses are greatest and quickest for the classes of workers that find themselves in surplus.

If in the wake of a dot-com bust, for a dated example, a computer programmer needs to work for $80K/yr instead of $200K, that's painful but her family will eat. That's a class of worker who is well-equipped to withstand the rigors of the marketplace.

But right now, there's an ENORMOUS surplus of lesser-skilled workers. Their market value is so low that without intervention (i.E. minimum wages and subsidies) they couldn't support themselves much less a family, and there's no justice in letting them suffer, because so many of them are doing the best they can.

They need our help but instead, we let them twist in the winds of the markets and protect the wealthy and powerful instead. That's backward, and it's sick.


So, you are in favor of lesser skilled(entry level) worker's salaries being propped up by the government? I guess if Obozo can allot 700 million to repair mosques in Egypt while coptic christian churches are in rubble from muslim bombers, Obozo should help the mikey D workers!!!

If you want Mikey D's to pay 80K/yr salaries, are you ready for the 20dollar cheeseburgers?

the office cat

Ya know, people who have been in RTW jobs read job apps that note 'union' and rush to apply.
None of you want to talk about union protection - which still is a very important aspect - but only people who give a damn about individuals give a damn about protecting them.

Don S

The union movement is what brought/foughtfor the American worker, child protection, OSHA, 40hr work week, overtime, health care, and fairness in the work place. The unions did this for the workers not the corporations. If companies would have treated their employees fairly, there would not have been a need for unions in the first place. Time will be the factor to see how fairly the companies will treat thier employees in the future. The future is on the way,,just look at Wal-Mart and you will see the future of all the companies in right to work states. Time is all it will take.

Don S

Forcibly taking money to pay for representation is no differant than taking taxes to fund the lives of those who are too lazy to provide for themselves. That sounds like modern day Congress !!!! Is that right by what you said Rabbi ????

Swamp Fox

Watch the violence and mob mentality of the union brotherhood in Michigan.


There's always the leadership shown by a Michigan Democratic State Legislature who promised "blood in the streets" over this issue from the statehouse floor.

A state constitutional amendment in Michigan to mandate collective bargaining lost on November 2012 in Michigan 57% to 43%, in a state that went to Obama 54% to 44% how does the union brothers explain that?.

If you can't win at the ballot or in the legislature, win it with violence and intimidation, that's why the people should have a right to choose if they belong to a union. Democrats are pro choice when it comes to life but no choice when it comes to unions.


During college I worked part-time and summers in a couple closed shops.

I paid union dues and didn't receive bennies. Theft.

Actually quit a job after two weeks because the UAW wanted a $1K initiation fee.


Licorice Schtick

It was not theft. It was part of the deal.

You can only make your case by distorting the facts.

That's the conservatives' problem - their policies benefit the 1%, but the need to get 51% of the vote, so they have no choice but to distort, lie and cheat.

The 99% need only get the truth out, but that's no easy task when Big Money controls the media.

The Republicans are tying themselves in knots inventing reasons why they lost and Obama won. The truth is, they ran the best campaign money could buy, but enough of the truth leaked out, and 51% were not fooled.

Well, they appear to have won a battle against the people in Michigan. We'll see where that leads.


@ Licorice Schtick:

Deal? More like extortion.

The forced taking of wages without any benefit is theft.

Only a socialist would think that it is not.

If unions (syndicalism) are beneficial, they should be able to stand on their own accord and without the use of force to join.



I am in a trade(construction) union. We can be fired for any or almost no reason. The union mainly deals with collective bargaining, a hiring hall, apprenticeship, ongoing training, certification, pensions, insurances, and such things. They DON'T donate money to politicians. They will bundle donations for politicians if you send them money just for that reason, but can not take money we pay in DUES to do so. Heck I even negotiate higher wages for me personally on most jobs I do and the union accepts that.

Unions need to evolve from what they were 60 years ago into what is needed or more wanted now. The tactics of 60-90 years ago are no longer needed nor wanted by most of the "rank and file" members. They don't need leg breakers and folks who back politicians anymore. They need to be bookeepers and negotiators now. They need to evolve into useful organizations instead of hired muscle

looking around

Licorice Schtick you do a fine job of setting the record straight and your points are right on, These hacks that your trying to educate are mostly younger people that have no idea what a Union can do for them through collective bargaining. They want to portray unions as thugs mugging their employers. They fault union wages for driving industry to other borders when it is really corporate greed that has little to do with global marketing. Some are older workers who were salaried or never belonged to a union and are jealous of the wage structures and benefits won by those who are union. Most of all they are false flag waivers. Not all businesses need unions, but for those that the employees have determined a need and have organized they should expect that all who stand to gain with them be members. I for one am glad I had the union as a voice in my working life. I can't imagine many of these company's who hate unions watching out for the welfare of their employees without some internal oversight to make sure they live up to all the regulatory standards set by laws enacted through union representation. And as you pointed out every working person union or not benefited by what the unions fought long and hard for.


The employers are the government agencys. If the mafia made you pay protection money to run your business would you complain? Same deal here, You must pay to play or not work at all.


Licorice and looking,

Do either of you condone the use of violence to obtain the unions needed results?

looking around

Donutshopguy, you say violence to obtain the unions needed results? At the conception of organized labor the unions demonstrated peacefully through sit ins, walk outs and demonstrations. It was the company who hired goons or used their security staff to invoke violence against the striking workers. The famed battle on the bridge in Detroit or gun play in the mountains of west Virginia between the coal miners and company ownership was a direct result of those company tactics. These union members held their ground and eventually won their battle for the good of all Americas workforce. I've been on the picket line a few times myself, times were different and I never saw violence. As a matter of fact the union strongly discouraged it. I have heard of isolated instances where individuals themselves have become over exuberant and stepped beyond their bounds. These acts were not sanctioned nor endorsed by the union. In my knowledge of these types of situations the unions themselves penalized those responsible or supported law enforcements actions against these illegal activities. Ad Grumpy pointed out the unions roll has changed over the years and is more viable now than ever. Ask anyone who has worked for a company that has been sold, closed or otherwise been re-invented.


RTW hits the unions where it hurts the most, the wallet!!! Under RTW you can still join the union but you don't have to pay the dues!!!! History is fine but unions still are violent with numerous goons, just look at wisconsin,


The Michigan Legislature on Tuesday gave final approval to contentious "right-to-work" legislation, in the face of raucous protests in the capital and stern warnings from Democratic lawmakers.

"There will be blood, there will be repercussions," State Democratic Rep. Douglas Geiss, speaking on the House floor on Tuesday, warned ahead of the votes.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/...

Yep, all unions and their supporters detest violence LOL

The Big Dog's back

The real question is why do all of you union haters want to work in a union shop? Oh, because the pay and bennies are better. You have a choice, if you don't want to pay union dues, DON"T WORK IN A UNION SHOP!


@ Dog:

And do you work in a union shop?






When did any job, Especially in the public work force become the sole property of the union? Its the taxpayers property get over it. Thought this was a free country? If Big dog and his ilk have their way a dictatorship with extortion fees would be the norm.