Michigan’s Republican Governor Rick Snyder on Tuesday signed into law a so-called “right-to-work” bill, making Michigan the 24th state in the US to adopt the measure. The law bars labor contracts requiring all workers to pay union dues as a condition of employment. Promoted by right-wing forces, its basic aim is to undermine the ability of workers to collectively fight in defense of their interests in opposition to the employers.
The inability of the United Auto Workers and other unions to mount any serious opposition to the legislation demonstrates the bankruptcy of these organizations. They long ago ceased to fight for the interests of their rank-and-file members or the working class as a whole.
The UAW, the Michigan AFL-CIO, the Michigan Education Association and the other unions are incapable of mobilizing workers. They have spent the last three decades working to suppress and betray workers’ struggles and impose the demands of the corporations for one round of wage and benefit cuts after another. They have collaborated in the closure of plants and mass layoffs, leaving former industrial centers like Detroit devastated and impoverished. The UAW agreed to a six-year strike ban as part of the wage-cutting contract dictated by the Obama’s Auto Task Force in 2009.
The UAW once had over 1 million members and as recently as 2004 had 650,000 on its membership rolls. Today it has a membership of about 380,000.
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