EDITORIAL: CMU has no choice but to abide by right-to-work laws

Right-to-work laws prohibit agreements between labor unions and employees regarding the mandatory payment dues associated with being in the union or a set length of membership.

Currently, 24 states have right-to-work laws, and Michigan will become the 25th on March 28, when right-to-work takes effect.

While many opposed when Gov. Rick Snyder's right-to-work laws swept the Capitol, this Editorial Board ultimately agrees with what the law is striving for.

Compromise is about give and take, but that is not possible when one side does not practice checks and balances.

For years, unions have been able to secure larger contracts and bigger pensions for their workers – something they should be proud of. If you can get, take it.

But after The Great Recession and weak economic recovery the last few years, things needed to change. You can only get so far with yearly pay raises, secure contracts and perks a declining number of workers receive.

Many of us here in Michigan love unions. We all grew up with someone in our family who was a member of a union. But creating change involves sacrifice.

This state is going to be somewhere residents leave in droves if significant changes aren't made – changes that hurt both sides.

Central Michigan University released a statement Wednesday saying it would not bargain with unions until the law takes effect in Michigan. Two unions on campus have requested to add clauses to their contracts that would require members to pay dues for several years.

Once the law goes into effect, dues will become optional.

Although this is an inconvenience and disappointment for unions, they shouldn't be upset with the university for following the law. Agree or disagree, the law is the law.

Those who disagree with right-to-work laws need to realize that there are no perimeters for collective bargaining within the state now. If you don't like it, work to elect new lawmakers in Lansing in the 2014 election that share your worldview. That's the beauty of democracy.

While unions can provide helpful leverage for those who are members, at points, they can prove to have too much.

It is more effective to strike a balance between power on both sides and making what can be difficult compromises, and that's what the law allows CMU to do.


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