Blind Embrace of Democrats Cost Unions In Michigan

Teamsters President Jimmy Hoffa Jr. says Michigan’s passage of a right-to-work law on Tuesday “basically betray[s] democracy.” Actually, it portrays democracy — and reasonably accurately. 

For decades, Hoffa, his father, who also led the Teamsters, and almost all leaders of major unions have unabashedly and unashamedly aligned themselves with the Democratic Party. They provided foot soldiers for campaigns and money when necessary to pave the way for Democrats to win public office. 

Those officeholders, in turn, rewarded them with union-friendly laws, expanded social services, high salaries and generous benefits for union members in the public and private sectors, as well as fostered a climate that enhanced — rather than challenged — the power of the leaders themselves.

A perfect storm had to come together to topple union power in what can be considered the birthplace of the big-time American labor movement. And it did. Unions overreached this fall and had a ballot initiative to enshrine union rights in the state constitution. It fell 57-42.

That was the signal Rick Snyder, the state’s Republican governor, and the Legislature needed that Michigan residents had tired of blind government support for unions and would consider alternatives.

Read more from Ford O'Connell at The Hill's Pundits Blog

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