Wisconsin revoked collective bargaining for most public-sector unions, a slap to the labor movement. Michigan's bid to become a 'right to work' state is an even bigger blow to unions.
Last year Wisconsin was a battleground for union rights, as Republican Gov. Scott Walker pushed through a law limiting collective bargaining for many public-sector unions and then survived a recall election. This year organized labor’s focus has turned to Michigan, where a Republican-controlled legislature looks set to pass a so-called “right-to-work” law banning compulsory union fees.
Which of these might end up a worse defeat for US unions? We’d say Michigan, without question.
Michigan is the birthplace and stronghold of the United Auto Workers and a state steeped in union history. In Michigan they still remember 1937’s “Battle of the Overpass,” where Ford guards beat UAW officials near Dearborn’s Rouge plant in a pyrrhic victory that led to the union’s rise.
President Obama beat Mitt Romney in Michigan by 10 percentage points despite the fact that Mr. Romney grew up there. If Republicans can enact laws limiting union power in Michigan, where might they turn next?