LANSING, MICH. – No union perks, no peace.
For those protesting Michigan’s newly minted right-to-work law, it’s all about the benjamins and the benefits, baby. Show us the money and we’ll leave you alone. No need to get rough, eh?
Screeching through over-amplified sound systems on the protest grounds, Michigan’s union supporters will tell you they’re just like you. They eat where you do, shop where you do and take their kids to the same schools and playgrounds.
They’re your relatives, neighbors and friends.
While you can’t do much about family, if these rowdy folks are your friends or neighbors, perhaps it’s time you started seeing other people. Quickly.
The Republican-controlled state legislature set off a maelstrom when they quickly passed right-to-work legislation — a bill that eliminates union membership as a requirement to work. That bill hit GOP Gov. Rick Snyder’s desk Tuesday.
And while everyone anticipated demonstrations, no one could have guessed how terrifying things would become just outside the lawmakers’ workspace, on the capitol grounds.
Mid-day Tuesday, a group of union strongmen violently tore down the tent of Americans for Prosperity, a conservative group supporting the new labor law.
Crushing a tent might not seem like a calamity. But for the people remaining inside when the roof came down, it was awful.
“One of the people inside it was our state director in Michigan, and he said that he was stomped on under the fabric as he was trying to get out. It was only after the police brought in their squad and pulled people out that he was able to get out,” AFP communications director Levi Russell told the Daily Caller after the fracas.
Thankfully, none of the tent-dwellers reported injuries.
That doesn’t mean no one suffered injuries.
As the tent came down, one union backer socked a Fox News contributor in the face, chipping one of his teeth and cutting his forehead.
Do these folks sound like your friends, neighbors and relatives? Yeah, I didn’t think so, either.
Instead, these are entrenched unionists, so worried about their perks and political power — and so doubtful that any worker would voluntarily join their organizations — that they’ll go to almost any length to preserve the status quo.
Interrupt a Special Olympics ceremony in Wisconsin? Of course. Who wouldn’t?
Write fake doctor’s notes so union workers can leave work and protest? You betcha.
Disgustingly suggest a city mayor regularly bops to Nickleback? At least it’s not Creed!
Threaten to “kill a motherf*****r with a gun?” Who hasn’t suggested murder for political purposes at least once?
Discussing in a legislative setting shedding blood of pro-right-to-work folks if the law passes? Not a big deal.
Leave thousands of students without teachers because rallies rank higher than education on the priority chart? Leave those kids alone.
Intimidate the elderly mother of a public official? It wasn’t that bad, was it?
You get the picture.
Who wouldn’t blame these folks for fighting with their life for their perks and special privileges. They have much to lose through this flap.
First, they might lose a public relations campaign with the American people, who already view organized labor with suspicion. Michigan is the most-unionized state in the nation and if labor sheds members by the thousands here, it can happen anywhere else, causing an inevitable death spiral for the movement. Even the most-hardened liberals admit that.
“If right-to-work passes in Michigan, it demonstrates the weakness of the labor movement,” Richard Hurd, professor of labor studies at Cornell University, told CNN. “If it can happen in Michigan, there’s a feeling it can happen anywhere.”
Second, workers will inevitably leave organized labor for good, depriving union bosses of their political army. A poll released in the last few days reveals that some 23 percent of public school employees and government workers would leave their union’s tight grip under right-to-work.
Another study suggests labor organization falls 50 percent within the first five years of right-to-work passage.
That would lead to the final blow to the unions: Less cash-flow to their coffers.
While most union officials say the compulsory union dues primarily fund labor negotiations that benefit everyone in a given workplace, that’s just not the case. A Michigan Capitol Confidential report reveals a mere 11 percent of union worker dues funded teacher negotiations, while the rest paid for political activities and general overhead, i.e. fat salaries and healthy benefits for union bosses.
Collectively, Michigan organized labor could take a $100 million annual hit if one-quarter of the union folks do, in fact, leave the unions and stop paying dues.
And if unions can’t fund the campaigns of union-friendly politicians, unions will lose big. Really, really big.
Less money for unions means less Democratic campaign cash and outside election help from organized labor, which in turn counts on Democrats for healthy master contracts, stimulus packages and so much else.
At their final gathering Tuesday afternoon, union officials rallied in a small plaza of the Lansing city building, just steps from the state capitol. Adorning the city building was a decorative holiday sign preaching “Peace on earth.”
How deliciously ironic is it that unions folks, who spent the day dropping tents on the opposition, clashing with police and socking a Fox News worker, would congregate under that sign?
The festive peace adornment may be a sign of the holiday season, but with union henchmen interested only in keeping what they believe rightfully theirs, it’s definitely not a message suited for these moments.
Remember, no perks, no peace.
Contact: [email protected] or @DustinHurst on Twitter.