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Editorial: Indiana provides lessons for Michigan with right-to-work

February 3, 2012
The Alpena News

Don't think for a moment this week's passage of right-to-work legislation in Indiana did not send shock waves through Michigan.

Labor leaders here viewed the contentious legislation with disdain, economic developers worried as to what effect it would have locating new business here and Michigan legislators watched with mixed feelings, wondering what impact it would have on their cross the border counterparts a year from now.

As the ink was drying on the Indiana legislation all sides of the issue were weighing in.

Michael LaFaive, fiscal policy director at the Mackinac Center in Michigan said "I worry, that without a right-to-work law of our own, Indiana will grow at Michigan's expense."

His concern isn't necessarily shared by Gov. Rick Snyder, who consistently has stated his agenda for moving Michigan forward economically does not include right-to-work legislation. However, conservatives within his party have been posturing much more publicly this past year to include right-to-work in any discussions involving the state's economy.

To say the issue hasn't been discussed a lot, or its merits haven't been debated within the legislature's halls and among caucuses, would be wrong.

Snyder, for his part, has not pushed for Wisconsin-style reforms in Michigan, nor has he embraced Indiana's efforts as feasible here.

Thus, we don't see right-to-work legislation proceeding any further.

However, both the GOP-controlled House and Senate in Lansing have been a lot more fiesty in recent months, and it wouldn't be surprising to at least see right-to-work discussions out of both chambers in the weeks ahead.

Ultimately, we don't expect right-to-work will be part of Michigan's future.

Still, the lessons Indiana will be teaching us will be closely monitored by all sides across the border in Michigan.



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