On Tuesday, Fox News threw its weight behind Michigan’s effort to allow union members to opt out of paying union dues, while benefiting from union contracts through so-called “right-to-work” legislation. The House and Senate are expected to pass the measures in light of overwhelming protests and union opposition and Gov. Rick Snyder (R-MI) pledged to sign it.
Following a segment with State Sen. Arlan Meekhof (R), a supporter of the effort, anchor Gregg Jarrett joined in supporting “right-to-work” and suggested that union members who don’t feel comfortable working alongside employees who take advantage of union wages and benefits, but don’t pay into the organization, should quit and look for work elsewhere. Co-anchor Martha McCallum agreed, saying that unions could simply do a better job of attracting workers:
McCALLUM: One woman, in a soundbite we had earlier, said ‘I don’t want to work somebody who doesn’t have to pay what I have to pay.’ That is part of the outrage there.
JARRETT: I mean, if she doesn’t like that, she can go get a job elsewhere, I suppose. But the point here is, it seems anathema to democracy to force somebody to join a union, to force somebody as a condition of having a job to join a union.
McCALLUM: And if they are doing a great job for people, then people will want to be part of it and they have that option as well.
Today, less than 18 percent of Michigan’s workers are unionized, and the state’s middle class is earning significantly less of the state’s income than in years past.
During a stop in Michigan on Monday, President Obama argued that so-called “right to work” would take away workers’ rights to bargain for “better wages and working conditions.” “These so-called right to work laws, they don’t have to do with economics,” he said. “They have everything to do with politics. What they’re really talking about is giving you the right to work for less money.”
Research shows that “right-to-work” laws generally result in smaller wages, pensions, and health care benefits for union and non-union workers alike.
A Fox News reporter in Michigan highlighted all of the weapons — tear gas, batons — that police are carrying to counter the union protesters: