Michigan, the home of the GOP – and the home of unions – finally unshackles itself from slavery

Personal responsibility. Free markets. Individual liberty.

Not hard concepts to understand when it comes to understanding the foundation of the Republican Party.

In the mid-1800’s, as the scourge of slavery bore down on the country, it was northern territories – namely Michigan, Wisconsin, and Illinois – that gave birth to a new approach to doing business in the nation and no longer tolerating the servitude of a people to the betterment of others.

James 5:1-6 –

1 Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming on you. 2 Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. 3 Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days. 4 Look! The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. 5 You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter. 6 You have condemned and murdered the innocent one, who was not opposing you.

These territories – the birthplace of a new American freedom – were once claimed by the Commonwealth of Virginia. While Virginia struggled with slavery, it is still the home of the Declaration of Rights – the very foundation that undercut our nation’s unhealthy addiction to abusing their fellow man and serves as the foundation for our Bill of Rights.

Virginia Land Claims 1783
Up until 1784, Virginia claimed all of what is now known as the Industrial Midwest, in conflict with Massachusetts over southern Michigan. Is it any wonder Detroit is so liberal?

The very first Virginia declaration says:

“That all men are by nature equally free and independent, and have certain inherent rights, of which, when they enter into a state of society, they cannot, by any compact, deprive or divest their posterity; namely, the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.”

While it took years for Virginia to unshackle men from slavery and eventually turn to the freedom of being a right to work state – where men and women can pursue their dreams and enjoy their liberty, the irony is that the northern states seemed to change course.

Following the Civil War and with the rise of the genius of men like Henry Ford, William Durant, Walter Chrysler, among many others, the north unleashed its industrial ability.

Migrating to the north from the south were hundreds of thousands of people seeking their prosperity.

In Detroit, “The Motor City”, the population burgeoned to nearly 2 million people in 1950. The city, with its statues, picturesque skyscrapers, and wide avenues was coined “The Paris of the Midwest”.

Yet, also rising with the industrial powers were those who claimed it was unfair for entrepreneurs to succeed. The Washington Post recaps:

Michigan is arguably the heart of unionism in the United States. The UAW was founded in Detroit in 1935 and quickly organized assembly workers in automobile plants throughout Michigan and across the nation. Its membership peaked in the 1970s at more than 1.5 million but has fallen to just under 400,000 after decades of declining domestic manufacturing.

Although most states in the South forbid unions from requiring workers to pay dues or fees, the industrial Midwest had long resisted such legislation. Earlier this year, however, Indiana passed a bill that mirrors the one on its way to passage in Michigan. Business leaders and other supporters of the Michigan bill said it would help the state compete for manufacturing jobs with Indiana; the Big Three auto companies are officially neutral on the issue.

Now, Detroit tops out at a whopping 713,000 people – the lowest it’s been in more than 100 years.

Today states like Virginia and Texas are growing in population and are frequently noted as being the best for business. And, any shock, they are right to work states and led by Republicans?

Now, Michigan is trying to recapture its former glory. Especially with job growth dead last when it comes to its neighbors.

h/t: Red State

Michigan no longer can wait and Governor Rick Snyder and the Michigan legislature recognize it. If it can happen in Wisconsin and Indiana, why not Michigan?

And so on Thursday, Michigan’s Republican-controlled state House and Senate each passed bills banning unions from requiring dues from private- and public-sector workers. Each measure must now be sent to the other chamber for final approval, which could occur as soon as Tuesday, and legislative leaders said there was little doubt that the bills would pass.

It truly is time for an American comeback – and it starts with Michigan going back to its conservative roots: freedom and the right to pursue your dreams.

Is Michigan ready to let its workers decide for themselves whether to pursue their dreams of happiness – or must they be beholden to the union?
  • First, let me say that I firmly believe in right-to-work laws and think it should be the law of the nation. That being said…

    Holy horsecrap! You’re actually comparing required union membership to slavery? You’re implying that a right-to-work law is like the Emancipation Proclamation? Hello? Boing! You know slaves didn’t quite have the opportunity to move to other states to escape rules that they didn’t like, right?

    You’re right on one thing, Michigan is coming to their senses by enacting a right-to-work law that will increase economic development. You’re quite hilariously ridiculous when you quote bible verses and attempt to equate it to the end of slavery.

    • It’s pretty simple, Bruce. Blacks sought a better life post-Civil War in the North, but they, not by choice, exchanged one master for another…the latter being the UAW. I’ve seen what has happened to Flint and Detroit with my own eyes, which, quite frankly, is at the hands of unions.

      I believe in the right to liberty. Right to purse happiness. The right to work.

      Kudos to the Michigan government for moving forward.

      • Unions != Slavery.

      • The Bulletproof Monk

        Awesome reply.

        • By “awesome”, I’m hoping you meant non-germane.

  • MD Russ

    I am rather ambivalent about RTW laws; there are valid arguments on both sides. However, you need to understand all of the economic consequences of RTW. First, in a RTW state, if the employer has a collective bargaining agreement then all of his employees are members of the collective bargaining unit, not just the ones who pay dues. Not only does the union negotiate their compensation and benefits, but the union must represent all employees in the grievance process, whether they pay dues or not. Consequently, the union has less revenue to do for their workers what unions do best: provide training and certifications at no expense to the members. Studies have shown that unions in non-RTW states spend an order of magnitude more money in training programs than non-union employers do. So, who makes up the difference in training? The employees do, by paying for vocational training schools or community college classes. The expense varies widely by the occupation but in the building trades it can cost tens of thousands of dollars to get certified and remain certified. So, free-up employees from paying dues, but they are going to have equal or greater out-of-pocket expenses in most circumstances. Finally, union employees have far greater horizontal mobility when their work re-locates or personal circumstances require them to move. Union employees show up at their new location certified by the local as job-ready. Non-union employees must convince a hiring manager of their qualifications.

    (Full disclosure: one of my largest consulting clients is an international labor union in the building trades who is operating a training program for military veterans.)

  • Goodness. That bible quote sounds like it came right out of moveon.org and occupy wall street jargon.

  • FINALLY!!! Great post, Jim — and excellent reference to forced unionism and enslavement. Virginians used to call that “sharecropping” back in the day… and right to work laws are certainly the path towards greater liberty and competition in the workforce… rather than watching unions slit their own throats in examples that seem to proliferate the Rust Belt (and Twinkie production lines, so it would seem),

    • Yeah, its BearingDrift Classic.. More please.

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