I’ve been remiss in not talking about the Michigan right to work disaster. Part of it is that it’s so bloody depressing, part is that I’m really focusing on my book and thus have reduced some of the political writing. That said, my basic thought on the matter is that organized labor failed pretty massively in Michigan. It put its eggs into the ballot measure basket that would have enshrined collective bargaining in the state constitution. That failed miserably, but it was a good idea. The problem here is that labor operates too much like a political get out of the vote machine these days. That means that it can move people on election day but there’s a hangover in the aftermath. Michigan Republicans clearly took advantage of this and labor was caught completely flat-footed. Why anyone believed Rick Snyder when he said he wouldn’t pursue right to work is beyond me. Labor shouldn’t believe Democratic politicians but it sure should NEVER trust a Republican. The reality is that the United Auto Workers is simply not set up for mass mobilization and long-term campaigns in 2012. That structure was taken apart long ago, starting even back in the Reuther days and the UAW simply has not found a way back to the mass mobilizations that made it great.
Supposedly the UAW is going to make Michigan Republicans pay in 2014. Well maybe. But labor does not win through playing politics as its primary tool. Will it force a future Democratic governor to sign a law repealing right to work? I liked the ballot measure because it’s so rare for labor to play offense in the 21st century, but it’s dismal failure was not promising for the future.
….Also, in a good entry for a black comedy contest, one Republican legislator tried to make an exemption in the right to work bill to include correctional officers. Why? Her husband is a correctional officer.