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Michigan Right-to-Work: A Victory for Liberty?

Look past all the vague sloganeering and competing economic claims, and you'll find that right-to-work comes down to one simple and undeniable principle.

Michigan is about to become the 24th right-to-work state--but it's not just any state. It's essentially Big Labor Headquarters--and a place where the negative effects of union power were vividly displayed for all to see. No wonder that state residents objected a November ballot proposal that would prevent right-to-work from passing. And that labor initiative has now backfired, since the state house, senate and governor could vividly see that a majority of the state was open to this liberty-enhancing measure.

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Tom Woods on Unions

SteveMT's picture

Henry Ford would have liked this victory a lot.

[Why did Ford voluntarily more than double wages? Answer: He did it to actually save money!]
Ford did indeed raise wages in 1914 from $2.25 a day to $5 a day. But he most certainly didn't do it so that his workers could buy his cars. Even at first blush it seems most unlikely: he had some 14,000 workers and was selling 170,000 cars a year. The extra demand, even if all of those workers bought a new car every year, was never going to be anything more than entirely marginal.

But we can take this further: the Model T cost around $500 at the time. So, his maximum possible extra sales were $7 million. But how much is that extra wage bill? 14,000 by $2.75 by 250 working days a year comes to $9.625 million.

Ford's found that, to have a permanent establishment of 14,000 people, he was getting through a turnover of 52,000 workers in a year. He was spending vast amounts in trying to recruit, in training, in stopping the production line when people simply walked off the job. So what did he do?

No, he didn't simply raise wages. He made sure that he was paying more than everyone else. That was the point, to make those who had jobs at Ford more loyal, to have lower staff turnover, to enable him to pick and choose and get the cream of the crop. It's entirely likely that his total labour costs went down even as he was paying each individual worker more.


Very interesting and useful.

Government Regulation is GOOD!

Libertarians everywhere NEED to support our governments making laws to REGULATE unions. If you don't support regulation you aren't a Libertarian then, ARE YOU?

Tariffs, unions, protectionism - These are all things of the past. Why should an American worker make any more money than the same worker in China, India or Pakistan doing the same labor?

It's a global economy now, and the regulations, protections and rights of workers need to be destroyed. This is a great start.

How can the multinational conglomerates increase their profit margins with all these dumbass unions in the way, something needs to be done.

Unions are dying out anyways. Who cares?

Like it or not, we are moving towards a global economy and global economics. American unions should not be allowed to stand in the way of progress.

Besides, even if you disagree there is nothing you can do about it anyway, is there?

deacon's picture

NO!! but thanks anyways

you didn't think this was a liberty site did you?
you can't post truth like that here
we want slave labor,we beg for it here
we all know we were born as there were jobs to be filled
we want slave masters to think and tell us when to brush our teeth
we need the gov to answer all our questions,and to fulfill all our needs we want to live as paupers,serfs and as slaves,with the gov
answering all our needs and wants
we do not have time to think for ourselves,so we put that in
anothers hands
we want a gov to set the standards or the lack there of for every want we might have
after all isn't that why we elected them?
we are slave,we are many.all we ask in return is to be treated fairly
and make enough so we can return to our place of workship
all hail the job we were born itno
so many jobs,so little people to fulfill their needs
we are borg :)

If we deny truth before your very eyes,then the rest of what we have to say,is of little consequence

I think he was being sarcastic

pretty sure.

Love or fear? Choose again with every breath.

deacon's picture

uh huh

so was i,to an extent :)
and this after i was called a union backer for not liking
yet another law created

If we deny truth before your very eyes,then the rest of what we have to say,is of little consequence

deacon's picture

let me put it all on the line

does anyone here think jobs were
created because we needed something to do?
was there an over seeer who decided you needed to make money,so they being benevolent beings all that jazz thought you'd be bored
but all day here all read how this bill that passed is good
were you all born as there were jobs to fill?
and yet i read praises from liberty minded folk,how this bill(law)
is such a BFD!!
this was created by the very people who cannot create laws
our elected are not law makers,they work for us
they cannot create bills(laws)
ans yet you sit at your keyboards and try to point out to me
how this is such a great deal
this will be our undoing,as most here praise the all mighty
state and their undying love of doing what is right
get a damned life,people are not born to serve a union or the state
and yet on a liberty oriented site i read how this is good
how can it be,if the ones meeting out dollops to the masses as laws do not have the authority?
now go ahead and down vote this,as i don't care
twist all my words to meet your needs,it will not change one iota
nor dot,dash or tittle of what i have said
but ask yourselves this,were you all born as there were jobs that needed to be filled?
does any gov that passes laws,have your or my better interest at heart?
if you need a clue on these questions,or are confused by them
then just who needs more libertarian in their lives
most of you sat there and dissed on me for my beliefs and the way
i present things,but do not look at the words
riddle me this,how does it become to advocating for unions
when the bitch is about who or what passed another law?
does this automatically put me in the spot of a lover unions
or advocating them?
in your eyes yes,not in mine
the same thing can be said and will right here of fishyculture
you have constantly twisted her words around to fit your own agenda
god might forgive,but i don't,not it this point
you see,i have no animosity nor do i seek ill will,some of you all do,but right now,i don't like you
so you all can keep your preacheresque diatribe to yourselves,as i have no need for that or you
but ask yourselves this again...were you born as there was job that needed filled? if your answer is yes,shame on you,you know not
liberty or the meaning
and at this i am done with the lot of you
advocating for unions because i don't think a gov,a gov that has not the right to writes laws,writes a law concerning a damned job!!
is this clear enough for the lot of you? is it?

If we deny truth before your very eyes,then the rest of what we have to say,is of little consequence

deacon's picture

some people need to see where

the rubber meets the road,only then will any of this sink in
unions with all their flaws have done a great deal for the average worker,safety being one of them,higher wages and a better work place
to name a few others
with this piece,in a few years we will see sweat shops
with lower pay for everyone expect the white collar workers
we will have the greatest divide between who gets paid what
with no questions at all,as to who built whatever
these people will not be able to afford the products they build
but barely make enough to make it back and forth to work
this is what this law is all about,it is not for the betterment
of the people,but will be a detriment.
and i find it real hard to believe we are advocating the use of more government
these gov people do not and should not have any say in what another does with their job,or on their jobs
did i miss anything?

If we deny truth before your very eyes,then the rest of what we have to say,is of little consequence

SteveMT's picture

The problem is when the government teams up w/the unions.

That's called fascism. The alliance is rooted in pure tyranny.

Labor unions primary recipients of Obamacare waivers

deacon's picture

right,but i never spoke

of that or otherwise,my beef was and is,the gov setting rules
and creating laws
i am so sick of laws,all they ever do is oppress,and this bil
will be no different,the same ones voting this in is the same ones
who create all manner of laws to get them more ill gotten gains
it is always at our expense
this is my total beef, always has been,always will be
laws do not create freedoms or liberty,it stifles and kills that
what i do take offense to,)not with your post)
is this,when i said i didn't like this voted in,somehow i was
automatically labeled a union lover,looking for PR for them
when my complaint was its a law now!!

If we deny truth before your very eyes,then the rest of what we have to say,is of little consequence

Pure, unadulterated union PR crap.

I posted this in the other post on this subject and figured I'd re-post it here. Apologies to anyone annoyed at reading it twice, but I think it's important people realize that all the claims unions make about themselves amount to the biggest load of dung you'll ever encounter.


Apart from their "Pay up or else" thug mentality, the thing that most irritates me about unions is all the oft-repeated hogwash about how without unions there'd be no weekends, everybody would only be paid 3 cents an hour and forced to work 25 hours a day, and all the rest of this BS. When they aren't actively threatening violence against people, union thugs and apologists are busy taking credit for stuff they had little if anything to do with.

This really rubs me the wrong way, especially since even people who agree that modern unions are awful, unaccountable rackets seem to accept the myth that "Unions once had their place, and they did some good, like helping create the middle class." No. Wrong. Not at all. They've always been nasty, parasitic organizations and a net economic drag, just like their pals in government who have succeeded in passing laws granting them extraordinary legal privileges in the first place.

See, e.g., Tom DiLorenzo, http://mises.org/daily/1590.

*(So-called "right-to-work" legislation presents some problems from a libertarian/voluntaryist perspective, and it would be an interesting discussion to have if one could past all the ignorant screaming and asinine mythology surrounded labor unionism.)

deacon's picture

an interesting dicussion indeed

PURE,unadulterated union pr crap!!!!
do you really think i am union,or work for them?
do you think i am plugging for them?
or was my gripe or concern about them passing more laws
you really didn't want dialog or debate,you wanted
to cut my post without even reading it
i wasn't annoyed at this reposting,i didn't see the other one
and i didn't read the second one either,when you piggy backed mine
i knew it was all crap,just like some of the other ones down below

If we deny truth before your very eyes,then the rest of what we have to say,is of little consequence

Deacon, I know nothing about

Deacon, I know nothing about you but you're probably a kind, caring, decent soul. I am not trashing you personally.

But I take strong issue with this line of argument:

"unions with all their flaws have done a great deal for the average worker,safety being one of them,higher wages and a better work place
to name a few others"

That is what is pure, unadulterated union PR crap. Lots of people repeat stuff like that without knowing they're essentially retailing a load of BS. And that's exactly what that is: a load of BS.

deacon's picture

i thank you for hearing me out

if you indeed are
i have worked on both sides,had some real crappy jobs
ones that almost cost me life a few times
i got a job working for GM,then delphi,what i found was
the unions worked for management,not the people,form whom them dues were taken,but it did have a few benefits,one being a cleaner
working environment
i did get a better wage(i know what i helped build cost more to make)
but at least we were finally able by something that i didn't
need 2-3 of,to keep one on the road
one job i had,if they didn't like you,you were walked out
i do not believe anyone should keep their jobs if they do not work while there(unions help the lackies)
other jobs i have had i was paying $150 every 2 weeks for medical
this kinda sucked seeing i was making $6-7 an hour
yes i do know about unions and the thuggery,and how they operate
before gm spun off delphi,we the people tried buying them out
the union at the shop,did all they could to bury that piece of truth
so we couldn't go forward with that plan
i have seen crooked elections,and out and out voter fraud,both national and local
i truly believe that they did help,even just a little,but i am in no way having a love fest for them,nor do i even like them

If we deny truth before your very eyes,then the rest of what we have to say,is of little consequence

Every thing you just said

is slanted or a lie. Now HARD WORKING people can get a job without having to pay extortion money to the unions who then pass it along to their liberal special interests.

If the unions were so great then this law would not worry them but since now they can't bully people they are crying like a bully who didn't expect to get punched back.

Good for Michigan and people who are willing to work for their money and negotiate their own terms.

Did you miss anything? Yes, I would say you missed a lot.

deacon's picture

i did miss something?

why yes i did
now hard working people can get a job without having to pay
extortion money
here is a hint...don't work for a damned union shop
wow problem solved,are you that simple?
do not want to pay union dues,then don't work at a union shop!!!
did you miss something??? yes i would say so
work for their money..yes,you were created as there was a spot to fill

If we deny truth before your very eyes,then the rest of what we have to say,is of little consequence

deacon's picture

i guess we shall see how this turns out

you going to sit there and tell me that people cannot get a job
in another non union shop? that is slanted or a lie
everyone who gets a union job knows they pay dues and for what purpose
do you honestly think they are so stupid?
the reasons they take them jobs is they have unions
its the reason why i took on,i got tired of putting my life on the line
just to keep that job
like i said,we shall see which way this this goes
my money is what i already typed

If we deny truth before your very eyes,then the rest of what we have to say,is of little consequence

Ever lived in a right to work state?

The wages here SUCK. Benefits are terrible. If you ask a co-worker what they make, you can be fired for trying to "unionize." And as stated below, there will be no blowing of whistles. Corruption will run unchecked.

Love or fear? Choose again with every breath.

Yes and I thank GOD

that I have never had to work in a union state. And if an employer wants a non union work force then that should be his prerogative. And it has nothing to do with whistle blowing.

Fact, it does affect whistle blowing.

People do not report employer misconduct when their paycheck is on the line. My husband and I both had other co-workers who knew what we knew, they kept their mouth shut for their job.

Love or fear? Choose again with every breath.

So you support unions? wages

So you support unions? wages and benefits should be determined by the free market. Not a bunch of communist clows running a union. Also if a company or business is private property, why should they be forced to have union labor. Watch what you are saying Fishy. Unions are anti American. No one forces you to work for any company.

I support the right of people to PRIVATELY CONTRACT

If people choose to get together and negotiate as a group, they have every right to do so. There is NO NEED for the government to be in the middle.

Love or fear? Choose again with every breath.

Nothing against unions...

I have a problem though, with unions getting special, legal protection just like I have a problem with corporations and banks getting bailouts.

deacon's picture

i agree with that too

they don't deserve nor need special anythings
i have been part of both sides,the one and only thing
i liked unions,was this
i didn't have to do things detrimental to my health
to keep the job
not so with a few others i worked at was not the case
you see in one job i had we got to strip the cancer causing
crap off from steam pipes,this was forced on me as i had
a family and jobs were scarce
so anyways enough about me,thank you

If we deny truth before your very eyes,then the rest of what we have to say,is of little consequence

You Keep Talking About Health

You make it out like the unions protect you from hazardous stuff. Isn't that what OSHA is supposed to do? Why do you need a union to see to your safety?


OSHA?! That is your solution?

No one needs a union or OSHA to see to their safety, they need protected from retaliation by employers who create unsafe working conditions.
Again, real life:
Hubby worked for "respected" organization who takes donations from people as if they were a charity, then endangered the people who were donating, possibly killing some of them. The issue was taken up with a supervisor, then over the supervisors head, nothing happened. Finally the "anonymous" tip line was called, hubby was fired in less than an hour.
So, now when you go to donate to this charity, they may endanger you, maybe even kill you, because they have the "right to work" law covering their crimes.

Love or fear? Choose again with every breath.


but I am having a hard time following what you are trying to say. Donations as if they were a charity? Killing people? Endangered by right to work law? Huh?



I can only say so much. We "won" our case, meaning we got chump-change in cash and they get to force us not to talk about it, or they get the money back. Our attorney said if we did not live in a right to work state, we would all be rich, their behavior was so egregious. Justice prevails again!
Right to work lets employers fire people "without cause." That means if you try to stop dangerous or illegal activity, you get fired. The supposed "whistle blower protection" laws are useless when the employer has every legal right to fire you "without cause."

Love or fear? Choose again with every breath.


People forget why unions came into existence - because American workers were being exploited by ruthless employers. Yes, the Unions then took their turn exploiting, and now it will be the employers turn again.
Hope you've done a good detox, deacon. If you show any signs of cancer, get after it. It CAN be cured, you just have to find it without the help of a doctor.

Love or fear? Choose again with every breath.