Today, supporters of a right-to-work law in Michigan held press conferences in locations around the state. Five of those supporters appeared in downtown Flint. The main speaker, Stacy Swimp, President of the Fredrick Douglas Foundation of Michigan, addressed the crowd, saying: “All employees should be free to join and financially support a labor union if they choose, without fear of discrimination or penalty. We believe all employees should be equally free to choose not to join or financially support a union, again without fear of discrimination or penalty.”
According to Swimp, this kind of employment discrimination loses jobs and placed Michigan at the bottom of the United States’ economically. He went on to say, “This July Fourth weekend, and every day of the year, individual freedom is the issue.” Laws that promote freedom of choice, argued Swimp, will create jobs, as evidenced by the progress made in current right-to-work states. He ended by saying, “Workers want the opportunity to work for more.”
He was opposed by several union supporters who interrupted his speech on multiple occasions, saying things like, “It’s not unions fault,” “You are just a corporate puppet” or, “Right-to-work states are not worker-friendly.”
Both sides seemed to agree that Michigan is in terrible economic shape, but disagreed on how Michigan got there and how it can regain prosperity. Those who supported unions believe big business was at fault, and that any changes that seem to benefit their bottom line will only serve to perpetuate Michigan’s dismal economic situation. In contrast, those who supported right-to-work believe unions are partly at fault and that the way out is through greater worker choice and freedom outside union structures.