Union busters or freedom supporters?
Thu, 30 Jun 2011 22:37:54 GMT —
A new statewide group says it wants to give all Michigan workers the choice to join a union.
However, opponents say it's just another attempt by corporate America to crush unions.
"The Michigan Freedom to Work coalition believes all employees should be free to join and financially support a labor union if they choose without fear of discrimination or penalty," says spokesperson Stacy Swimp of Saginaw.
Press conferences like the one outside Flint's Career Alliance spread across Michigan Thursday using the holiday weekend to highlight freedom and its goal to give workers the choice whether to join a union.
Opponents say, there's a hidden agenda.
Greg Lobodzinski of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers Local 9 says, "I truly believe that this is another concerted effort by the right wing conservatives to just deteriorate the middle class and ridding America of unions."
Amy Cox, a high school teacher who lives in Flushing says, "They keep talking about freedom, but they're suppressing information. They're being very secretive about what they're doing."
Members of Michigan Freedom to Work say they're made up of former and current union employees.
Tim Bos is a member of the Michigan Freedom to Work coalition and says he worked for two unions. "Unfortunately the UAW had changed from the days of when my dad was union member. Instead of focusing on safety and a fair wage for a fair days work, they changed the focus on job banks, padding the payroll, and supporting candidates of the union leadership."
Union supporters say the organized labor movement created the middle class and that the states that don't require union membership push the quality of life down.
"In right to work states, there's a bigger disparity of the middle class, the shrinking middle class and the rich," says Lobodzinski.
However, Michigan Freedom to Work says it's the union that is keeping jobs away.
"Michigan has been the biggest job losers in this last decade, losing 700,000 jobs," says Swimp. "Families in this state desperately need jobs and the Freedom of Choice law is one of the most important things we can do to bring jobs to the great state of Michigan."
Freedom of Choice supporters say nobody should be forced to pay money to support political campaigns they don't support.
Union leaders agree, saying union members may opt out of that and request their dues go to collective bargaining only.
Opponents of union choice are also collecting signatures to recall Governor Rick Snyder. The group needs 800,000 signatures by August to get it on the November ballot.