Letter to the editor

Right to Work may not be what it appears


It seems to me that both Senator Mark Jensen and Rep. Peter MacGregor hold a one-sided view in regards to what is being called Freedom to Work – Right to Work legislation. Even though it hasn’t been mentioned, in my opinion, a major goal of this bill is to weaken teachers’ unions and close the deficit gap. Having taught for 17 years, I’ve come into contact with non-unionized teachers and have heard many complaints. Many charter schools are run like non-union businesses, where due process, low wages, benefits, and firings based on dissenting views are not uncommon. On the surface it appears that teachers would be getting a better deal by holding their unions more accountable to their needs, and that teachers would withhold their dues if their unions are nonresponsive to their needs. But many teachers, unaware that the benefits they enjoy are the result of years of negotiation, might opt out of dues, thus contributing to the union’s decline. Both senators know that the erosion of teachers’ unions would give them more leverage when negotiating teachers’ health benefits, salaries, retirement, etc. As a result, significant gains towards balancing the state budget would be made. This bill would also diminish unions’ power to support candidates of their liking. The signing of this bill by Governor Snyder, in spite of how it will really impact Michigan workers, marks a sad day for us all. Losing the gains made over the past 40 years is sure to weaken most workers’ standard of living. Good or bad, right or wrong, only time will tell the full impact of this bill. In the meantime, many workers who fought for these rights are turning in their graves, wondering if their hard work was in vain.

Gabriel R Soares


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