Columns » Editorials

Sinking Michigan


Michigan is our sister state, and yet we've always been a little resentful of her, what with her higher wages and better services and all. Now we can drop the resentment and the accompanying guilt and regard Michigan as an equal. It's not that we've moved up to their level, but that they've dropped down to ours.

Historically pro-union, Michigan last week joined the anti-union states, its governor signing a "right to work" bill like Arkansas's. "Right to work" laws don't give anyone a right to work. They give workers the right to avoid paying union dues, even when those workers benefit from union-negotiated contracts. The unions are weakened, and before long workers' wages and benefits decline. "Right to work" Arkansas has always been near the bottom of the states in per capita income and other economic indicators. Until now, Michigan has been near the top.

After the new law was enacted, a retired Michigan unionist told reporters he believed that Michiganders' standard of living would decline. We Arkansans can confirm that. And things are likely to get worse in both states, now that both have Republican-controlled legislatures. Republicans and their corporate bosses don't like high wages, and they also don't like the political activity that unions engage in, often opposing Republican candidates and Republican policies. A Republican Supreme Court has said that elections should be decided by dollars, not workers.

Add a comment