A couple of weeks ago, the Union Conservatives, a group of U.A.W. workers lead by Terry Bowman, hosted the Workplace Freedom Celebration to commemorate the inaugural day of Right-to-Work (“RTW”) in Michigan. It was truly a special kickoff for RTW in a state known for being the union capital of the world. It was particularly special since the grassroots effort to pass RTW in Michigan came, not from politicians or from the the business community, but rather from U.A.W. members. These were members who were tired of labor boss intimidation and the misuse of membership dues for political purposes, not supported by its membership. It was a spectacle to behold, and brilliantly orchestrated by Terry and his courageous group of fellow U.A.W. members.
I was privileged and honored, to be included as a speaker along with two brilliant headliners, President of The National Right To Work Committee, Mark Mix, and Director of Labor Policy at The Mackinac Center for Public Policy, Vinnie Vernuccio. As I listened to the opening remarks from Terry Bowman and the presentation of awards to those that made this moment in history possible, I could not help but reflect on the passage of RTW in my home state of Indiana approximately a year earlier and how two very similar bills had such dissimilar origins.
CLICK HERE to see photos from the event!
In Indiana, the grassroots effort and groundswell for RTW originated in the business and political communities. Indiana Representative Jerry Torr, a businessman in his own right, started the process back in 2007 by introducing a RTW Bill and finally saw it come to fruition in February of 2012, with the support of the Indiana House led by Speaker Brian Bosma, the Indiana Senate led by Pro Tem David Long, and the strong backing of then Governor Mitch Daniels. I have been blessed to meet and be associated with these truly courageous and great men who led Indiana to being the 23rd RTW State and the first in over ten years to pass such a measure. Passage of RTW was truly historical and a great leap forward for the protection and basic freedoms of employees and citizens of the great state of Indiana. Even more important, it awoke a sleeping giant that will hopefully become a tidal wave of “worker freedom” across the country!
As special as the passage of RTW was in Indiana, the dawn of RTW in Michigan is even more significant, as union members themselves started the ball rolling. I first became aware of the Union Conservatives in the Spring of 2012. They were aware of my companies fight against the SEIU and of my stand against Big Labor intimidation of employees/employers and the misuse of membership dues all designed to achieve its political goals and rebuild its plummeting membership. They invited me to speak with them at a press conference on the steps of the State Capitol in Lansing, Michigan on March 29th, 2012 in support of a RTW Bill for the protection of