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Aug
2014
21

From the Front Lines of Michigan’s Totally Failed Attempt to Get People to Hate Unions

What you hear is the sound of a graphic design budget being flushed down the toilet.

What you hear is the sound of a graphic design budget being flushed down the toilet.


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As we have touched on this summer, the anti-union Mackinac Center for Public Policy is asking Michigan teachers to opt-out of their union via misleading spam email and propaganda disguised as journalism.  Most of the details of this unfortunate campaign have been relayed by Eclectablog, which this week highlighted Mackinac’s widespread failure at turning teachers.  

The Michigan Education Association (MEA) has been almost entirely unaffected by the campaign, not to mention the state’s passage of a “Right-to-Work” law. Just one percent of the organization’s membership has ceased paying dues following the anti-union bill.

So what’s a ruthless, falsehood-spewing think tank to do? Find friends:

A national group, “National Employee Freedom Week”, is now following their lead. Like the Mackinac Center’s failed effort, NEFW encourages union members to become freeloaders by leaving their unions while the unions continue to bargain for on their behalf for better wages, better working conditions, and better benefits. Other benefits include:

• Unionized workers are 60 percent more likely to have employer-provided pensions.
• More than 85 percent of union workers have jobs that provide health insurance benefits, but only 54 percent of nonunion workers do.
• Unions help employers create a more stable, productive workforce—where workers have a say in improving their jobs.
• Unions help bring workers out of poverty and into the middle class. In fact, in states where workers don’t have union rights, workers’ incomes are lower.

National Employee Freedom Week, which [ran] from August 10-16, is a joint effort from an SPN affiliate pretending to be a non-union option called the Association of American Educators (AAE) and SPN affiliate Nevada Policy Research Institute (NPRI). These groups are closely connected to other national anti-union groups such as the National Right to Work Committee, Freedom Works, ALEC, the Koch brothers, and the Heritage Foundation.

As expected, the union is turning the attacks into a positive. MEA created the website MEAMatters.com to educate its membership about the mistruths being spread.  Mackinac Center NEFW may have had some success in the press, but union members aren’t budging. Remarkably, union membership has actually increased in Michigan by 4,000 people in the past year.  

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