William Crandell: Right to Work makes Michigan a low-wage statePublished 12:21pm Friday, April 5, 2013
By William Crandell, The Democratic Voice
Last week, Right to Work went into affect here in Michigan with the expected protests and vows from Democrats and organized labor to continue the fight.
Personally I question the wisdom of implementing a law that required the doors of the capital building to be locked during its passage to keep out protestors and denying them the ability to speak their mind.
With its passage, Michigan’s leadership now brags to the nation of being a low-wage state, but in reality we are just promoting our own divisiveness.
I have to wonder if we should be telling prospective companies to move here when our workers are angry and will very soon be making barely enough to survive and not receiving any benefits. There have been plenty of studies released proving that a happy worker is a productive worker, and, as one of my first bosses said to me, “if you treat your employees like crap you get crappy employees.” That’s a lesson I don’t believe they have learned yet in Lansing.
There are other reasons that may keep companies from moving to our state.
Recently, 70 schools and local governments signed contracts ahead of the implementation of the Right to Work law in order to avoid its negative affects. Now, the state legislature is threatening to cut their funding, making the situation even more discordant and demonstrating a complete lack of regard for the will of the people. They have also made horrific cuts to our public education system. For instance, recently the financially strapped Lansing school district fired all of their elementary physical education, music and art teachers to shave $6 million off their budgets. Classroom teachers will now be expected to teach those subjects.
They’ve also made brutal cuts to law enforcement and fire department budgets, forcing some of them to meld together into a sort of hybrid public safety department that experts say won’t work and are woefully underfunded.
Power availability for industries and residents has also become an issue with electricity becoming more expensive because of a state-sponsored monopoly system.
Our roads are falling apart and our current government officials are too lost in anti-tax rhetoric to do the right thing, and chances are they will never reach an agreement to provide the funding to make improvements. Why would businesses want to move to a state that is at war with itself and lacking the proper infrastructure to help their business grow? Where Tea Party bullying has become the norm and the middle class is constantly under attack and living in a cloud of resentment.
Pretty soon, all Michigan will have to offer corporations are big tax breaks that have been paid for with cuts to vital services and education. If these companies don’t require those services then they’ll move here. But I’ve got a feeling they are going to take a look at our self-induced collapsing infrastructure and run the other way.