Our neighbor to the north, Michigan, becomes the latest “So Called Right to Work” state this week, effectively stripping its workers of protections afforded by unions.
The legislation, passed during a December lame duck session that did not provide any opportunity for public comment, takes effect today.
In Ohio and West Virginia we are fortunate to remain in the shrinking majority of states that continue to support the middle class by not weakening organized labor, which in turn lowers wages and endangers worker safety and health.
For the last 125 years the Sheet Metal Workers International Association (SMWIA) has proudly represented over 150 building trades local unions, including Local #33, and currently serves over 165,000 members across the U.S. and Canada.
We are part of the only national construction union that offers the SMW+ Medicare Wraparound Program and Occupational Health Institute for research and monitoring of occupational diseases. The SMWIA also offers a National Pension Fund, Scholarship Loan Programs and an International Job Bank to help members obtain work in other cities. Even in times of economic hardship, there is a stabilization agreement program in place to help our unemployed members that is only offered by a few national construction unions.
While our union dues allow for these and many other privileges, workers in Michigan and other “So Called Right to Work” states can look forward to wages that are at least 3.2% lower than those in other states, as well as lower rates of employer-sponsored health insurance and pensions. It is clear that “Right to Work” is a grossly misleading title for these practices; instead, Michigan now has the Right to Work For Less.