Michigan Workers now have Right to “Work for Less” (Granholm Video)

Jennifer Granholm explains that Michigan’s new “right to work” law actually is a “right to work for less,” resulting in thousands of dollars a year less income for the average worker and even a lower education budget.

Republican Gov. Rick Snyder, who is in the back pocket of the notorious oil billionaires, the Koch brothers, signed the bills away from the cameras on Tuesday. The Koch brothers are part of a conspiracy of likeminded super-rich to destroy what is left of unions in the US, in part so as to de-fund the Democratic Party and deprive the working and middle classes of any levers to fight back against an increasing income inequality in the US. These moves are producing a new aristocracy of wealth in America, which is heading toward a sort of 21st century feudalism, with serfs such as you and I, and lords such as the Kochs.

What “right to work” laws do is allow workers to be free riders, benefiting from union representation without paying the dues that support the officials, lawyers and others who make successful collective bargaining possible.

Unsurprising, in RTW states, unionization rates fall precipitously.

“Right to work” can also be called a “wage reduction program,”, since the average wage of the average worker in RTW states is roughly $5000 less than in states that do not interfere with unions.

Some 70% of Swedish workers are unionized, compared to about 9% in the United States.

The nominal per capita annual income of Swedes is $57,638.

For the United States? $48,328

And, income inequality is twice as bad in the US as in Sweden.

But, folks, you might as well give up on being Sweden. You are all peasants now, so bow the knee to your lords.

9 Responses

  1. According to Dr. Hari Singh, a professor of business at Grand Valley State University (located outside Grand Rapids, Michigan), auto workers in “Right to Work” states make considerably less money per year than their counterparts in non-”Right to Work” states. In 2009, the average Michigan auto worker made $74,000. That same year, “Right to Work” auto workers made $53,000 in Tennessee.

    Source: link to media.mlive.com

    Perhaps counter-legislation could be called “Right to Earn a Living.”

  2. Ironically I think Sweden would classify as a “right to work” state. It has been illegal to force employees to belong to a union for at least 20 years.

    Of course there are lots of other structural advantages for unions in Sweden compared to the US. But from the swedish perspective it sometimes seems like the US labor movement is fighting for a model we abandoned decades ago.

    • It’s actually has also been illegal for many years in the United States to force employees to join a union. Though you would not know from the shoddy reporting in the press, “right to work” is about prohibiting unions from charging non-union members fees for their negotiation and representation services.

    • Are you Swedes bombarded round-the-clock with commercial propaganda extolling your corporations as the source of all good, and a deranged TV “news” network and thousands of churches damning the workers and democratic government as the source of all evil? Are your corporations continually blackmailing local and state governments and playing them off against each other for more favorable legislation against workers?

      It’s hard to keep people joining unions under those (American) conditions. As for why your corporations haven’t simply abandoned Sweden entirely, I guess American investors are further down the road to the commoditization of all relationships, predicted by Marx.

      • @Super390: The short answer is no. Our media, arguably perhaps, generally portrays corporations as evil and greedy. We hardly go to churches at all – we are one of the most non-religious countries in the world. We aren’t a federation and we also don’t really have a division between legislative and executive power. This means our government can generally create quite coherent, simple and flexible policy frameworks, whereas US policies seems patchy, stale and contradictory (and sometimes outright repulsive with all the pork barrels and other very specific stuff that don’t belong in legislation).

        I would argue that the US and Sweden are both very free-market, but in different areas. Sweden actually “beats” the US in this respect in several areas, altough we certainly have higher taxes, socialized medicine and a last-in-first-out rule for firing people, among other things.

        A word of caution – due to reasons mentioned above, and a lot of evolution and adjustment, Swedish policies that restrict the freedom of the market are very well thought out and balanced against each other, adjusted and refined trough quite technocratic governments with relatively free hands (along with good institutions and responsible unions). So just as deregulation can go horribly wrong if you do it partially with the wrong parts first, copying certain Swedish regulations may hurt a lot if you choose the wrong parts and ignore others.

  3. As I Swede, I would like to point out that Sweden is a right-to-work nation. We would never stand for closed-shop rules.

    Also, while Sweden lately has had great nominal GDP per capita since we’ve run a very tight ship budget-wise and now have a strong currency, the US still has some 10% higher GDP per capita than we do in PPP terms.

  4. The key difference between Sweden and the US, which accounts for the former’s much greater equality of opportunity and outcomes, is Sweden’s generous welfare state. In fact, “before taxes and transfers, income distribution” in the US and Sweden is “more or less the same”. It’s also worth noting that a generous welfare state can be consistent with impressive economic growth. link to detailedpoliticalquizzes.wordpress.com

  5. Gov. Granholm is exactly right, of course, but she misses a point which is that unions not only benefit workers, but they also benefit the companies which employ them, industrial ones anyway.

    Take the case of Germany. Very much unlike here at home, in Germany unions have a place at the table and representation on the corporate board. As a consequence, because employees have a real stake in long and profitable operations, companies in Germany are very careful to keep their manufacturing technology up-to-date and their factories running well. They are disincentivized from closing factories or moving to other countries.

    Compare this to the United States where factories are so often allowed to rust into obsolescence and then are closed and their jobs shipped overseas. Unlike Detroit, Germany automobile companies — VW, Porsche, BMW, Mercedes Benz, etc. — have a history of long, strong profitable operations. This is true not only of the automotive sector, but of German industrial operations in general. Moreover, German industrial workers are better paid, are more healthy and enjoy a better lifestyle than their American counterparts.

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