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"What is Freedom to Work?" and Other Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Freedom to Work principle?

The Freedom to Work principle affirms the right of every American to work for a living without being compelled to affiliate with a union. Compulsory union membership or dues in any form contradict the fundamental human right represented by that principle. Every individual must have the right, but must not be compelled, to join or financially support a labor union.

The Freedom to Work without being forced to join or pay dues to a union is a basic civil right. While other civil rights laws protect employees from being discriminated against or fired based on membership or nonmembership in a certain race, creed, color, or sex, a Freedom to Work law prohibits job discrimination on the basis of membership or nonmembership, or financial support or nonsupport, of a private labor organization.

What is the Freedom to Work Act?

The Michigan Freedom to Work Acts guarantee that no resident of Michigan can be required, as a condition of employment, to join or pay dues or “fees” to a labor union. Such laws (one for public sector, one private sector) also reaffirm and strengthen the existing federal labor-law provisions that bar hiring discrimination against union members. Currently 24 states have passed similar laws. These laws are commonly known as "Right to Work" laws.  A typical worker opting out will achieve approximately 2% more in his/her paycheck. We must defend these laws. Please sign up today, and send a donation if possible.

What effect will the Freedom to Work Act have on unions?

By guaranteeing every employee’s individual freedom to choose whether to join or pay dues to a union, unions must focus on serving their members as best possible. Just as a company must satisfy its customers, a union must satisfy its members. The effect is to democratize unions. Unions must put their members first, instead of pursuing a controversial political agenda with their confiscated money.

What effect will the Freedom to Work Act have on jobs?

Of the five most successful states in job growth from 1999-2009, all were Freedom to Work states, while the biggest losers were all forced-unionism states:

The Biggest Winners
(all Freedom to Work)
The Biggest Losers
(all forced-unionism)
1. Texas +866,000 46. California -170,400
2. Florida +291,600 47. Indiana -225,300
3. Arizona +194,000 48. Illinois -332,700
4. Virginia +138,400 49. Ohio -508,200
5. Nevada +124,500 50. Michigan -687,600


Because Michigan's neighbors Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois are all low-performing forced-union states, and because Michigan has so much well-qualified labor, Freedom to Work in Michigan would have an even more dramatic effect: new jobs would flow in from all over the Midwest.

What effect will the Freedom to Work Act have on wages?

Two-thirds of the states that have enacted a Freedom to Work law have higher personal income per capita than Michigan.

According to a scientific report prepared for the American Legislative Exchange Council, wages grow faster in states that protect individual employees' freedom to choose.  From 1997 to 2007, employees in the Freedom to Work states of Wyoming, North Dakota, Louisiana, and Oklahoma enjoyed the highest income growth in the nation, while in Michigan, we suffered the nation's worst decline in income.  You can read the complete report here.

This follows logically from the dramatic increase in new jobs in Freedom to Work states: the higher the demand and competition for new employees, the higher the price (wages) those employees will be paid.

Michigan employees deserve the same Freedom to Work for more that employees in free-choice states have.

What effect does a Right to Work law have on a state's standard of living?

Statistics show that Right to Work states enjoy greater economic vitality than do states where union dues and “fees” are compulsory. Per capita income has grown significantly faster in Right to Work states for decades. Right to Work states also have faster growth in manufacturing and nonagricultural jobs and capital expenditures, lower unemployment rates, and fewer work stoppages.

You can find more information on this topic here.