A survey of 650 Michigan voters released today by left-leaning Public Policy Polling shows a decline in Republican Governor Rick Snyder’s approval rating in Michigan, which dipped to 38% following vociferous union demonstrations against the enactment of right-to-work legislation in the Great Lakes State on December 11th.
The law makes payment of union dues voluntary for all private and public-sector workers with the exception of police and firefighters.
Protests captivated cable news and talk radio alike over the last week, particularly after a videotaped altercation between Fox News contributor Steven Crowder and pro-union demonstrators went viral. Moreover, even if the dip in Governor Snyder’s popularity proves temporary, the noticable movement in the PPP poll still suggests organized labor will continue to make right-to-work an issue in Michigan headed into 2013.
Larry Kudlow with Robert Costa
Airing locally on 770 AM WABC on Saturday, Larry Kudlow’s radio show touched on these developments with National Review’s Robert Costa, who contrasted the clashes in Michigan with organized labor’s position on Scott Walker’s reforms in Wisconsin.
“…one of the things the unions always got angry about was Wisconsin, was that they thought it was being led by a political person, by Scott Walker who was forcing all of these things through. What makes Michigan so much different than Wisconsin, and more interesting in my opinion, is that Governor Rick Snyder (a great guy, good Republican) is not really at the forefront of this.” Costa offered.
“The unions put two ballot measures up for election [this November] and they lost. And then the state legislature responds. So this is really a grassroots movement from the people of Michigan against their tradition and institution of labor in this state, and that’s to me what makes it so compelling…” he elaborated.
When queried as to the reason for the change Costa drew upon his own experiences in 2012.
“On the campaign trail throughout the last year I went to Wisconsin, I went to Ohio, I went to Pennsylvania. And when you talk to union members they’re usually the biggest union critics. They have the biggest concerns,” though he observed the latter two states might not be “ripe” enough for right-to-work legislation.
As an addendum, rank and file discontent with union leadership is almost inevitable when dues are made mandatory. Unions were originally intended to work in the service of their members – not the other way around. And compulsory payment removes the impetus for leaders of organized labor to justify how money is spent, which opens the door for inefficiency and corruption.
Giving rank and file the ability to withhold payment of dues could spur accountability and compel unions to offer better services for their members. And it is worth noting that while non-compulsory dues may allow for “free riders,” it is poor performance from union leaders that encourages it in the first place.
Dennis Miller with Mark Steyn
Broadcasting locally on Lehigh Valley’s 1100 AM WGPA with Mark Steyn on December 13th, Dennis Miller expanded on the unrest that accompanied protests against Michigan’s right-to-work legislation in the state capital of Lancing. The most notable incident involved the destruction of an Americans for Prosperity tent on December 11th, an event which led to Fox News contributor Steven Crowder being punched repeatedly by a union demonstrator.
“…the fact that they’re using these ruffian tactics now – not against the Pinkertons in East Homestead when Carnegie – but against anybody that [has] a tent…set up and its slashed with knives and honest to God there’s around three news sources I hear it from and…everybody else just lumps it under ‘displaying their distaste for this procedure.’ It’s pretty amazing Mark, isn’t it?” Miller asked.
“Yeah – no, it is pretty amazing, but there’s always been a kind of good cop/bad cop element to the Left’s strategy.” Steyn commented.
“So on the one hand they have Sandra Fluke and Barack Obama going out there and talking about contraceptives and all the rest of it, but then on the other hand you have basically guys out there calling for blood, collapsing a tent on old women…” he continued.
The conversation later turned to Steven Crowder’s intriguingly unconventional ultimatum issued two days prior to the union demonstrator who attacked him: either fight him one on one or face litigation.
“…mob violence depends on anonymity, and when you actually narrow it down – as Steven Crowder’s doing – and it comes down to Fred Smith of 27B Elm Street that guy…who’s willing to smash Steven Crowder’s face in is a lot less up for it when it’s just down to him and all the rest of the mob has faded away…” Steyn insisted.
Dennis Miller with Steven Crowder
Though not well publicized, the next day the radio host praised the (relatively) newlywed Steven Crowder on 1100 AM WGPA for taking his lumps while documenting the union demonstrations in Lancing and attempting to intervene on behalf of Americans for Prosperity on December 11th.
“…I thought you were courageous, I thought you handled yourself well, I hope you sue them into oblivion and it’s nice to know that if you have to, and he does answer the call, if it goes into the Thunderdome you’re the one who leaves…I wish it didn’t happen. I wish the world works, it doesn’t.” Miller said last Friday.
“I thought it was your proudest moment. I wish you wouldn’t do it again because I do think you can get shot out there, use your head…” Miller added.
“Well thank you Dennis, you’ve just brought a tear to my eye. Listen, you’ve known me for awhile. I’ve come on this show since I’ve been 21-years old and when you’re out there and you’re one guy it’s one thing. But to come home and to talk to my wife as she watches this tape – Dennis – it was like she was taking the blow every single time. I can’t take it, I don’t want to put her through this.” Crowder began.
“I have her with a former police officer right now because I don’t even want to say I had to leave town but I have work here in Texas and she’s being guarded around the clock. The kind of threat – to think of what’s going on with my life – I don’t ever want to put her through that…” he continued before briefly attempting to poke fun at his own sentiment.
Miller urged him to “turn inward” for the moment, remarking, “…You have a woman you love. It’s too risky out there. These people are not even being decried to a large degree for what happened to you. It’s not on any of the major newscasts. It’s time to turn inward; you’ve done your part my friend – at great risk. Stay out of the way, and I’d sue that guy if I could or if he wants to fight so be it – but it’s Christmas.”
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