Terry Bowman

"Right to work is a full-frontal assault on you, your family, your job, your wages, and your future," so say most union officials to employees.

As a union member, I have heard this time and time again. But is it true? Does changing Michigan into a right-to-work state mean the death of unions, collective bargaining and the middle class?

Clearly, the answer is a resounding no!

Just look at existing right-to-work states to see that unions there are alive and thriving. If Michigan became a right-to-work state today, the only change would be that employees could choose whether they wanted to continue as union members, and employers would finally start looking at Michigan as a possible destination for their jobs.

Along with the change in the business tax structure, right to work is the next step needed to bring Michigan's economy back from the brink of disaster.

As a 14-year, pro-union employee, I know Michigan must become a right-to-work state to retain and grow good-paying union jobs. Why? Because it will force union officials to compete for an employee's loyalty and refocus them on doing what unions were originally created to do: represent members inside the workplace.

Competition, instead of a monopoly, always makes organizations stronger.

The actions of union bosses become accountable and answerable to the membership. The focus is once again placed on the employee, instead of on a partisan social and political agenda that seems to be the obsession of union officials.

They would instead be focused on two things: retaining and increasing membership by becoming better at their created purpose, and establishing relationships on both sides of the political aisle to become politically neutral.

The proven disastrous tradition of placing their hopes and dreams in one political party, while antagonizing and deliberately making enemies of the other, has failed miserably.

Unions would instead have to sell the benefits of their services to employees, instead of forcing financial support as a condition of employment.

President John F. Kennedy, realizing the potential for huge financial and political gains for his party, signed Executive Order No. 10988, authorizing federal employees' right to "form, join, and assist" any union.

However, he knew there was a constitutional danger in forcing compulsory dues as a condition of employment, so he added the following words in his order: "or to refrain from any such activity."

Kennedy realized that employees have an equal right not to join a union.

In Michigan it can be ours also, but only if we embrace reality, become a right-to-work state, and remind union officials that they serve us; not the other way around.

True solidarity can be achieved only if we are also given the right, in the words of Kennedy, to "refrain from any such activity."

From The Detroit News: http://detnews.com/article/20110609/...#ixzz1OtN0BH47