Michigan Governor Rick Snyder was happy to sign the union-busting “right-to-work” bill this week, saying that the law would help create jobs in his state. But in an interview with American Public Media on Thursday, Snyder was hard-pressed to give good reasons for why, exactly, the bill would inspire companies to move into Michigan and create new jobs.
Pressed by Marketplace Morning Report host Jeremy Hobson to explain what proof Snyder had that Michigan would see a job boom as a result of the law, the Governor cited neighboring Indiana’s recent job numbers as his only evidence:
SNYDER: This is about more and better jobs coming to Michigan. If you look at Indiana, they did similar legislation in February. And literally, thousands of new jobs are coming to Indiana where this was a major consideration in companies’ decision to move to that state.
HOBSON: Are you saying then that companies decided to go to Indiana, for example, because there’s less union membership in Indiana?
SNYDER: No, and I don’t want to speak for the companies but it is very clear that companies are looking at Indiana that previously did not. […]
HOBSON: Well, make that connection though. You’re saying that, by not requiring workers to pay union dues, that therefore companies are going to be more attracted to the state. Why would that be?
SNYDER: Well, that’s a question for the companies but there is a strong sense, and companies do look at that. That’s something we’ve suffered here.[…]
HOBSON: Union membership has fallen dramatically in Michigan and across the country and it’s not as though that has translated into some boom in employment. I see the point you’re making, but it hasn’t been borne out in the evidence, has it?
SNYDER: Well, it’s been borne out in the Indiana case.
The Economic Policy Institute estimates that right-to-work will cost all Michigan workers — not just those in unions — an average of $1,500 a year, and that there is “no relationship” between right-to-work laws and employment rates.