Passed by a Republican-dominated House of Representatives, the new law was proudly proclaimed by Republican House Speaker Jase Bolger in the following terms:
“This is about freedom, fairness and equality” ... “These are basic American rights — rights that should unite us.”
Ah yes, those famous rights that allow workers to sell themselves to the lowest corporate bidder, a foregone conclusion in Michigan and the other 'liberated' states, a fact tacitly acknowledged with a wink and a nudge by supporters of the legislation, who say it will boost the economy by creating jobs, attract new companies to Michigan and give workers more choices for employment.
But then again, perhaps I am wrong, and that surge of expected new employment will result from corporations being attracted to states where the workers are revelling in their newly-acquired 'freedom.' After all, a happy and contented worker is a productive worker.
Lest Canadian workers feel left out, our federal overlords are laying the groundwork for similar serf-like satisfaction in this country. As reported in today's Star, Bill C-377, an alleged private member's bill about which I have previously written on this blog, is to receive the full backing of the Harper regime and is expected to be passed today in the House.
Says Labour Minister Lisa Raitt:
“Our government is going to support (the bill), with the amendments that have been brought in. It makes a lot of sense” ... “Workers want to know how their union dues are being spent.”
Of course, there are always naysayers when it comes to such liberating legislation:
Liberal interim leader Bob Rae said Bill C-377 “is an exercise in bureaucratic overkill that has nothing to do with transparency and everything to do with simply trying to punish trade union organizations.”
Rae said the bill, if passed, could be part of “the pattern in the United States” of limiting union rights. The next step, he warned, could by an attempt by the Harper government to eliminate the so-called Rand formula, under which workers in a bargaining unit must pay mandatory union dues.
Such carping criticism aside, can it be long before we are all living in a worker's paradise?