Dec 3, 2008

House Democrats strike a blow for the workers and the shrinking middle class with the rejection of RTW

Michigan Democratic lawmakers helped put an end to the push for low wages, loss of benefits and the rollback of workplace safety standards by rejecting a bill that would make Michigan a so-called "Right to Work" state.

The House Labor Committee voted down House Bill 4454 introduced by rightwing Republican Jack Hoogendyk, R-Kalamazoo, during a committee hearing Tuesday.

Committee Chair Rep. Fred Miller, D-Mt. Clemens, brought the bill up under the heading "any or all business properly before the committee" on the agenda, and the bill was rejected along party lines. The vote means it will not be sent to the full House floor during the lame duck session and the bill is dead until it is reintroduced in January. Only Republicans Rep. Lorence Wenke, R-Richland, and Rep. Phil Lajoy, R-Canton, voted against workers and the middle class.

Proponents of "Right to Work" claim the law would do away with the requirement that workers must be in a union to be employed at a union shop. However, federal law already protects workers who don't want to join a union to get or keep their jobs, and gives workers the right to opt out of a union. But they must still pay union dues. RTW would give them the option of not paying dues while still enjoying the benefits of being in a union. The law is being used to bust unions under the false claim that states with the law are seeing more job creation.

The assault on the middle class is not yet over, and the Senate companion bills are still pending in the Republican-controlled Senate. Sen. Nancy Cassis, R-Novi, introduced companion bills, Senate Bills 607 and 608. The bills are pending action in the Senate Committee on Commerce and Tourism.


Anonymous said...

"...the false claim that states with the law are seeing more job creation."

It's a simple matter of verifiable fact that primarily Southern and Sunbelt states with Right to Work laws are and always have enjoyed more job creation than states in which it's legal to discriminate against and fire an employee who chooses not to join or financially support a private labor organization.

But to resolve this issue once and for all, let's join together to demand that Congress repeal the law allowing union officials to contractually bind and represent employees who don't want to be financially or otherwise affiliated with a union, i.e., change federal law to say that only employees who voluntarily join and financially support a union are covered by its contract. (Doing this may be difficult in the new Congress, since it is union officials themselves who support the law "forcing" them to cover non-members.)

Nonetheless, once that argument is disposed of, there'll be no argument left to try to justify blatant job discrimination against otherwise fully qualified individuals who understandably resist being compelled to financial subsidize union officials' left-wing political agenda under threat of being fired.

Of course, it's all about maintaining and establishing political power. So long as a politically-charged private organization can legally force financial support even from Americans who disagree with its political agenda, such compulsion will obviously make it stronger politically than if it had to rely as all other groups do on the voluntary support of individuals who could be persuaded on the merits to finnancially support its activities.

Pay up or you're fired: the very essence of "democracy," huh?

Communications guru said...

Yes, the false claim that states with the law are seeing more job creation. If it’s a “simple matter of verifiable fact” then verify it. “Primarily Southern and Sunbelt states” may have more job creation, but it has nothing to do with right to work for less.

Fine, but let’s bind together to demand that employees who don’t want to contribute to the union cannot enjoy the increased wages, good benefits and safe working conditions. And when the employee has a grievance against the employer the union does not have to defend them.

There is nothing more democratic in the workplace than the union, so your rant about “a politically-charged private organization can legally force financial support even from Americans who disagree with its political agenda” carries no water. My state Representative voted against the workplace smoking ban, which I support. I don’t agree with that decision, but there’s nothing I can do about it but campaign against him in the next election. All union leaders are elected. If you do not like the decisions the PAC is making, then vote for another leader or run yourself.

Not anonymous said...

It is fitting that the Democrats vote against the "Right to work".

Communications guru said...

I agree, anonymous troll, it is fitting that the Democrats vote against the "Right to work for less," and the Republicans voted for it.

Anonymous said...

I don't like the RTW concept because I fear it lowers our standard of living. On the other hand, the south are getting all of our manufacturing jobs.

If Dems defeat RTW, what is their solution for the staggering job loss in Michigan? Not everyone can live off the taxpayers' backs; someone has to be actually making some bucks in the private sector.

Sometime, I don't think Dems understand where their government money comes from. I KNOW McBluster doesn't understand...His solution is easy: Just raise taxes.

But for the thinking man out there, where are those taxes going to come from if our jobs keep going elsewhere?

Not Anonymous said...

It's too bad that we even have to debate "Right to work". First of all, working is not a "right". It's a responsibility. If you want to improve your financial situation for now and the future, the way to do that is through work. When you work for what you get, you respect it more. When what you have is handed to you, you have no respect for it but demand more. A perfect example of this is the Great Society. Johnson said that welfare would end poverty. We're now forty years later and we're worse off than we were before he started. The market will always work if it's allowed to work. If you're an employer, you hire based on what you can pay. If the workers do well, your profits increase which allows you to increase the salaries or pay of the workers. If you don't do that, but instead keep workers down, they can go look elsewhere for work. With competition, they will find similar work for better pay. When they can't find better pay, there is a couple of reasons why. 1. Collusion by competing companies, which means they really aren't competing. Collusion is illegal.
2. They've reached the pinnacle of what the market will bear. Until the market expands, they have reached the top.

By trying to create a "Right to Work" we're admitting that something is holding back the market from expanding. Judging from those against the "right to work" it's clear that the liberals and the unions are trying to impose socialism on the American worker and are the problem which led to the "Right to work" concept.

Communications guru said...

I’m not sure who I’m talking to, but I agree with you; I don’t like the RTW concept either. Yes, it will lower our standard of living. But it’s not the south that is “getting all of our manufacturing jobs.” It’s offshore, Third World countries, and we can never lower wages that low or want to. Instead, why not raise their wages and workplace safety standards closer to ours?

The Democrats answer to Michigan’s staggering job loss is to diversify our economy and not just place all of our eggs in the auto industry basket.

Well, you’re wrong; Democrats understand where “their government money comes from.” I pay taxes just like everybody else. I have never advocated “just raising taxes.” The Republicans solution to every problem is to just cut taxes, especially for the richest 1 percent. In this state they cut taxes for 15 straight years without cutting spending. We cannot improver the job market or the budget situation with a race to the bottom. We have to have solid infrastructure and an attractive quality of life to attract investment.

Communications guru said...

I agree anonymous troll, it’s a shame we have to debate right to work for less. That’s exactly what workers want to do, improve their financial situation through work. As for your rant about the Great Society, I doubt it’s true.

As for your claim that “If the workers do well, your profits increase which allows you to increase the salaries or pay of the workers” does not ring true. In 1965 the average CEO was earning 24 times what the average worker was making. But in 2005, the average CEO was making 262 times what the average worker is making. There is nothing to justify the los of wages for the middle class worker.

Anonymous said...

You always find ways to blame the Republicans. How many years ago did Gov. Granholm say "in 5 years we will be blown away?" Do you think she will deliver on that?

Communications guru said...

No, I don’t. I don’t think anyone expected Bush’s recession, and the state’s largest employer on the brink of bankruptcy.

Not Anonymous said...

We have been blown away and it didn't take five years. She's destroyed the State of Michigan and I'm afraid it will take years to recover. In an earlier post the guru said he paid $5.00 for a pack of smokes 12 years ago. That's untrue. 12 years ago, the cost of a pack of cigarettes was just under $3.00 a pack. It went to over $3.00 per pack in the late 90's and then crossed $4.00 per pack when Granholm increased taxes on cigarettes by 75 cents a pack. It is now $4.50 per pack when you buy them by the carton, unless you drive to Virginia where you can get them for $3.00 per pack or to Indiana where you can get them for $3.65 per pack. But if you do that, don't buy too many at once or you'll be arrested for avoiding taxes in Michigan by crossing the state line to buy your cigarettes and God help you if you're caught actually selling cigarettes on the black market after traveling to another state. Governor Granholm is probably going to exceed Jim Blanchard as the worst governor this state has seen in our lifetime. It's likely we'll exceed his high unemployment figures next year on Granholm's watch. I've been hoping that we would catch up to the rest of the country in that the country had a great economy until 18 months ago. Michigan has been in a one state recession for five years while the country was growing at a greater rate than has been seen since the 80's. But now, it's beginning to look like the rest of the country is going to catch down to Michigan. It's ironic really. People have been leaving Michigan in droves for the past four years to get away from the rotten economy. Soon, there will be no reason to leave Michigan other than the climate. It won't be any better anywhere else in the country. TAxes are going up next year. It won't matter about "Right to work" (sorry, I think it's silly to rename it to fit a political agenda as guru tries), because nobody will have jobs. It's going to be a long two years.

Not Anonymous said...

I must apologize. I said it was Guru that made up the silly additional words to "Right to work". I've now discovered that he didn't come up with it. The line is actually used by the AFLCIO. I should have known he couldn't come up with an original idea. I apologize for my error.

Anonymous said...

If she didn't see the problems of the auto industry, then she is truly incompetent.

Communications guru said...

We have been blown away: the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil, a notational recession, AT & T just announced its cutting 12,000 jobs across the county and the state's largest employer is teetering on the brink of bankruptcy. I have asked this to you or the other anonymous trolls who post here: How can the governor, any governor, be blamed for those events?

As for Jim Blanchard being the worst governor, I have no idea how you reached that conclusion. The record for unemployment in Michigan was 16.9 percent in November 1982. Blanchard was not the governor then, he served from 1983-1990. I think it is more important to remember who the president was then. Here is a link:

I have no idea where this great economy you were talking but 18 months ago existed, but it did not exist in this country. Wages were stagnant at best, and we lost thousands of manufacturing jobs across the country. People may be leaving the state, but it is not as bad as it was in the late 70's to early 80s. I left too. I joined the military in 1975, got out in 1980, and went back a year later to stay. I'm not sure what this discussion has to do with right to work for less.

As for the price of cigarettes, I last bought a pack of Marlboro 100s in 1996, and it seemed like it took a $5 bill. I could be mistaken. I will concede it may not have been $5 a pack, but there is no way it was $3 a pack. I have no idea how much they are elsewhere, and I don't care. Considering the real cost of smoking to the health care system, they should be taxed so they cost $10 a pack.

Communications guru said...

What the hell does that mean, troll? Are you denying the so-called right to work really means the right to work for less? I'm just calling it what it is, and I could care less where the term came from. It's like the clever names Bush uses that means the opposite, like the clean skies initiative or the healthy forests initiative.

Not Anonymous said...

Yes, I deny that it's the right to work for less. If you don't believe in the free market system, that's fine for you. If you really believe that socialism is the way to go, then I should congratulate you because you have two years to implement it and only must somehow beat the filibuster. As for the economy, we just experienced the largest growth in 25 years from 2002 until mid 2007. Unemployment averaged 4.5% nationwide. Clean skies and healthy forests? I have no idea how that fits with the right to work issue but it sounds like you're trying to move into global warming. The earth has not warmed since 1998. Scientists are now coming out and saying we're headed into an ice age. Sounds like 1975 all over again. First it's too cold, then it's too hot and now it's too cold again. Maybe liberals just don't understand what "cyclical" means. The global warming issue is just a scare tactic to get more money out of taxpayers to put the people under the thumb of the Washington Elite.

Anonymous said...

You say you don't advocate "just raising taxes" but I'm not aware of a tax hike you don't support. But maybe I'm wrong. Let's review:

1. You don't live in Brighton schools but it sure sounded like you supported the recent and failed tax proposals.

2. I get the idea that you supported last year's state income tax hike.

3. I think you likely supported the surcharge on top of the the MBT which replaced the SBT.

4. You live in Howell, I believe. Did you support the Parker bond issue?

5. Howell area has had a number of tax requests lates...rec authority, fire authority, library bond. Did you support all of these?

Can you identify a tax hike or a tax proposal that you didn't support?

Communications guru said...

Very few, if any, saw the problems of the auto industry. Even if she did, what could she have done about it?

Communications guru said...

Well, you are wrong; it is the right to work for less. Workers in RTW for less states make an average of $5,900 less in annual salary, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In addition, the rate of workplace deaths is 41 percent higher in RTW states, according to the bureau, and 20 percent more workers in RTW states go without health insurance.

I don’t believe giving workers a decent wage is socialism. There is no reason a CEO now makes 256 times more than the average worker instead of 64 like it was some 30 years ago.

What the hell does “you have two years to implement it and only must somehow beat the filibuster” mean?

I’m not buying your stats on the economy.

I used the clean skies and healthy forests as examples as laws that do the exact opposite of what its name implies, just like RTW.

If you don’t believe in Global Warning there is nothing I can say. Even the Republican Presidential nominee knows it is a scientific reality.

Anonymous said...

Lots of empty words from McBluster. But somehow you failed to list the tax hikes you have opposed. Is it possible that you are for each and every tax hike that has ever been proposed?

Communications guru said...

If they are so “empty,“ then why can’t you disprove or rebut any of them, anonymous troll? I opposed No. 3, but each one should be judged on its individual merits.

Anonymous said...

So you opposed the surcharge on the odious MBT? What cuts should the state have made to cover the loss of that revenue?

And does that mean you favor every other tax hike ever presented? Even in the land of tax-and-spend, you stand out.

Communications guru said...

First, we made plenty of cuts in spending already. In fact, more than any previous administration. I supported the sales tax on services over the MBT surcharge. Second, I do not support every tax presented it. But for the sake of argument, even if I did how would it be any different from what you’re doing?

Have you ever supported any tax? See, unlike you, I don’t want something for nothing. I understand the service the police, fire, ambulance, 911, the roads and bridges I drive on, educating children, putting people in prison, giving them a fair trial, caring for the poor, caring for our seniors, caring for our veterans, ensuring we have clan air and water and many other services cost money. I understand I have to pay my fair share, and I do that by paying my taxes.

Anonymous said...

I have supported a lot of taxes and I pay my fair share. My company does too. They showed us how much the business plays in taxes, including property taxes. It's a lot.

I've voted for plenty of fire and library taxes, only to see my local government decrease its general fund spending for that service. Thus, the so-called fire tax was really a general fund tax.

The paper says the City of Brighton's tax revenue went up 8 percent a year for a decade. That's pretty good revenue growth for a city whose population is flat. Maybe that's why they have the money to buy naked statues. And now they are crying poor mouth. Maybe they needed 10 percent a year gains.

Last year's state tax hikes didn't seem to help any last weekend as I and other drivers were trying to inch along unattended expressways near Detroit.

It's not just a question of's a question of how well the money is being spent.

I've supported every school tax hike, including the enhancement millage, that I could vote on. My reward for that is that there is a $70 million high school sitting nearly empty. Also, I'm paying for great benefits for Howell teachers who pay much lower than I do for health care costs. And they get great benefits. Did you know that their children are fully covered to age 25? Mine aren't. It's a good deal if the district can afford it, but it can't without further gouging taxpayers or cutting classroom services.

I have also voted for library taxes, fire taxes, 911 taxes, to name a few. Now the county, which is supposedly facing cuts, wants to spend $1.7 million on a new dispatch system even though they all admit the current one works fine.

It's a ruse to always throw the high-profile emotional issues out when seeking taxes. I have no problem funding those. I have a problem with paying higher taxes and still cutting back on essential services while not cutting frills.

Just voting to spend more money doesn't mean the money is well spent. Michigan is not by any means a low tax state.

Communications guru said...

Wait, you listed five specific taxes and asked, no demanded, I answer, and you did it twice when I didn’t answer fast enough. And you expect to get away with such a general answer like, “I have supported plenty of tax hikes” or “I've supported every school tax hike?” If that’s the case, then why are you giving me a hard time and claiming, “Can you identify a tax hike or a tax proposal that you didn't support?” I would ask the same of you because it appears we supported the same amount of tax hikes.

I have no idea what you’re talking abut with your claim about fire and library service, “only to see my local government decrease its general fund spending for that service. “ For the most part those are dedicated funds, so I would like to see something to back that claim up. Local governments in Michigan received the first increase in revenue sharing last year since 2002, and that is what is used to fund fire, police and other services.

Well, Brighton’s population has not been flat. Sine 2000 the population has increased by 7,4 percent, according to SEMCOG. That would seem to support your sustained 8 percent claim. Here’s a link:
I also do not consider the art in public places “naked statues.”

What the hell are you talking about “unattended expressways near Detroit?” We are in a recession, and we have been in the national recession since December 2007. That, coupled with the cuts in spending, and the cuts in taxes for the past 15 years will lead to some service shortfalls.

I don’t think Howell teachers are being paid too much, and I don’t begrudge them a decent health plan. What should happen is we should all have our children coved until age, 25 if that’s the case. As for Parker, I don’t think anyone anticipated two Bush recessions and the state’s biggest employer teetering on the brink of bankruptcy and shedding jobs. The projected student enrollment did not pan out. I know when my daughter graduated in 2003, the halls were so crowded at HHS that it was a hazard.

I agree with your take on the County Board of Commissioners. That’s why need a different voice on that board. They want to spend that money, but do not want to be a part of WALLY that will actually benefit people.

Nor is Michigan a high tax state.

Anonymous said...

You are so wrong about Parker. The student population had nothing to do with it. Enrollment was still rising when school officials first said they couldn't afford to open it. The bond was passed AFTER school funding flattened out. School officials went for the money anyway, HOPING new money would magically appear. They strongly supported the 3-mill enhancement tax because they knew without it they couldn't affort to run the school. When they promoted the bond, they never told voters that they couldn't afford to run the new school. It was horrible mismanagement, and now the local taxpayers have wasted $70 million. $70 millionn! That could pay for your choo-choo train. Instead we have an empty school. It's a disgrace.

I'll type slowly so you can understand. A city budget spends $500,000 for its library. It passes a "library" tax that raises $500,000 for the library. Then it quits funding the library out of its general fund. So even though voters increased their taxes for a library, the library gets no additional money. But the general fund gets the benefits of the tax hike. Maybe it was put to good use. But if that's what the money was going to be used for, then that's what the tax hike should have been for.

Do you understand anything about math? I'll take your word for the 7.4 percent population increase. That's cumulative. That means over 8 or 10 years, the city grew by a total of 7.4 percent. But the city tax revenues grew on average 8 percent EVERY YEAR. So for a period of, say, 8 years, the city budget grew by more than 64 percent (8x8 plus compounding) while the populations grew by 7.4 percent. So tax revenue outpaced population by a factor of nearly ten times. Holy cow. You are dense.

How are you going to pay for the health care? Oh, that's right, no one has to pay for it. It's going to come from the federal government. That makes it free, doesn't it? (Actually, the feds need to take a role in providing health care, but it has to come in conjunction with reducing other costs. You can't just keep funding care, mass transit, Iraq wars, ugly statues...without some consequences. Government doesn't produce wealth; it just squanders it.)

Communications guru said...

I guess we will have to agree to disagree about Parker. It certainly is about student enrolment. The bulk of funding for public schools is from the per-pupil foundation grant; the more students the more grants and money. As for the ridiculous “choo-choo” crack, public school funding cannot be used for county government. Any reference for your take on Parker?

First, who says “A city budget spends $500,000 for its library?” The bulk of district library funding - the type of libraries we have in Livingston County - are supported through a library mileage. Such millages are voted on by the electorate and are designated specifically for library purposes. Local municipalities may not use library millages for any other purposes. Additionally, the Michigan Constitution guarantees that all penal fines collected for violation of state penal laws are to be used exclusively for library purposes. Local governments, like the city you talked about, can contribute from there genera fund, but they are not required to do so. Here’s a link:

No, don’t take my word for it. I provided a link for the Brighton population growth. Where’s the link for your claim about the budget?

I don’t know how to fund health care. How do the countries that provided it fund it? Japan does, and it’s costing U.S. automakers dearly. The cost of providing health care is added to the cost of the vehicle, but not in Japan. The more than 47 million Americans who do not have health care should not be allowed to die just because they do not have health care coverage.

Anonymous said...

Since you are being reasonable, I'll try to do the same in addressing your points:

1. It's not just "my word" on Parker. It's the "word" of the former superintendent and the longtime business manager. While it was being built...and before the enrollment slowdown...they said they couldn't afford to run it. That's a fact. 1,000 more high school students would help, but they didn't have the money to run it even had enrollment been stable.

2. I used the library example as just that: a hypothetical example because you said you didn't understand my earlier comment. Yes there are fines that support libraries. But Brighton City, for instance, used to have a big line item general fund expenditure to support its library. Just like it funded its fire department out of its general fund. Then taxes were passed to pay for (and expand to townships) such funding...that opened up money in the general fund to pay for other things.

3. We agree on health care costs putting American automakers behind the 8-ball. But you go to extremes. The 47 million Americans will not die because they do not have health care. Many are young and choose not to have it (not a good idea, but the young are often foolish.) Hospitals MUST provide emergency service anyway. However, in the bigger picture, it's a problem because people without insurance won't get small things checked out or won't make regular doctor appointments. Thus, they lose the opportunity for early detection or, instead of getting the flu taken care of at the doctor's office, then wait until they are really sick and have to go to the more expensive emergency room. Also, uninsured tend to have more serious and expensive chronic illness later in life. Health care costs are a huge problem, but the debate isn't furthered by hyperbolic statements like yours.

4. I notice you didn't comment about the City of Brighton's spending habits. By their own admission, the city's revenue has been going up by 8 percent a year, while population growth is barely one-tenth that. It's fine to say, "Oh, we have to pay for services," but there is nothing wrong with asking government to be fiscally responsible. If you live in Brighton City, your municipal property taxes are much, much higher than if you live in neighboring Hamburg, Genoa, Green Oak or Brighton. I think it's fair to ask why and what extra services do taxpayers get for that. Government folks tend to say, "We need taxes for fire and police protection" and things like that. They are less likely to say, "We need taxes to buy public art, pay for lighted crosswalks, build parking lots and hire downtown development personnel." But that's where a lot of tax money goes. Maybe those are good ideas, but not if taxes escalate far faster than population...or if you reach the point where you can't pay for essential services.

Communications guru said...

I'm "reasonable" when the other person is, and when you use the name-calling like you usually do, that's how I respond.

1. I see you giving your version of what the "former superintendent" and the longtime business manager" – I didn't know they ever had one of those – said, but that's nothing but the word of an anonymous poster. Anything to back that up? The biggest revenue source is the per-pupil foundation grant. The more students, the more money. I stand by my statement that a drop-off in student enrollment is the biggest reason Parker closed.

2. No, you "used the library example" as an insult. You, or some other anonymous troll, wrote, "I'll type slowly so you can understand." The funny part is you don’t even know how libraries are funded.

3. I strand by my statement that "the 47 million Americans will die because they do not have health care." Not all, of course, but many will die prematurely simply because they do not have access to simple, inexpensive preventive care. By the time an uninsured person goes to the expensive and busy ER, it's too late.

5. As for "City of Brighton's spending habits" I provided a link to the data backing up my claim. I'm still waiting for your data. The taxes in any city are higher than in the township. First, by law a township can only assess a certain amount of mills, and in a city you have more services. I don't think it's fair that I pay higher taxes because I live in the city when you also use those services. For example, I live just a few blocks from downtown Howell. Last month they had the annual Fantasy of Lights parade DT. They had more than 30,000 people lining the streets to watch the parade. Since Howell has a population of just under 10,000, a good number of those people came from the surrounding townships. Because they had so many people, the entire Howell PD was out. The City of Howell taxpayers like me paid for the extra overtime, we paid for DPW to open and shut the parade route, we paid for the extra pressure on the roads, for the parking lots they used and we paid for the clean up required after the parade.

You may think " public art, pay for lighted crosswalks, build parking lots and hire downtown development personnel" is not important, but the people the city elected to run the city think so.