Letter to the Editor: Birmingham Teachers Union Says Right-to-Work Undermines Education

Birmingam Education Association President Scott Warrow notes that states with Right-to-Work laws have some of the lowest performing schools in the country.

This letter was received by Birmingham Patch Editor Laura Houser.

How incredulous for the governor and the radical Republican legislature to pass Right to Work (RTW) for less when it is clear that from this past election that Michigan politics have become so polarized. Now was not the time for more divisiveness. 

Attacks against workers and the middle class in this state have been relentlessly destructive. Tuesday’s vote was a complete political reversal by the governor, who said for the last two years he opposed this bill. This was not about improving the economy of Michigan, but merely political payback for union supported collective bargaining. At least we had the democratic decency to put the proposition before a vote of the people, unlike Republicans, who passed RTW for less bills without public hearings, significant debate, and all the while locking citizens out of our capital building.

This law is bad for Michigan on all counts. The evidence against RTW for less in education is overwhelmingly negative. The lowest performing schools in our country — Texas, South Carolina, and Georgia — in terms of scores, graduation, and college matriculation are all right to work for less states. The states with the highest scores — Connecticut, Massachusetts, Wisconsin — are all union states. Right to work for less simply translates into paying educators a lot less, and the best educators leaving the profession or not entering it. 

Moreover, RTW for less will not bring jobs to the state nor improve the economy. The preponderance of evidence demonstrates that RTW for less is economically disadvantageous. Nine of the top 10 per capita income states in the nation are union states, while seven of the bottom per ten per capita income states are right to work for less states. And, six of the fasting growing states since 2010, including Michigan, are (or were) union states (US Bureau of Labor Statistics). 

In the November election, an overwhelming number of voters indicated that now was the time for politicians to work together to improve education and create family-sustaining jobs, not change the rules about unions, which only creates more divisiveness and demoralizes workers. The next two years will be a nightmare for Michigan politics and getting thing done cooperatively.  We have the Governor and the radical Republicans to thank for this mess.

Scott Warrow
President, Birmingham Education Association

The viewpoints in this letter are those of the writers, and Patch is not responsible for any ideas portrayed as facts. For questions and clarifications, please leave a comment below or contact editor Laura Houser at laura.houser@patch.com or 248-534-9780.

For more

  • Gov. Rick Snyder Wants Right-to-Work Legislation
  • What Do You Think About Right-to-Work Legislation?
  • BLOG: A Sad Day for the State of Michigan
  • Your Guide to Right-to-Work Bills (And How Birmingham's Lawmakers Voted)
PH December 13, 2012 at 11:32 AM
Well said, Scott Warrow! Applause, applause!!!
Racer Boy December 14, 2012 at 03:18 AM
Anyone think any significant number of MEA members (or any other Union members) actually voted for current Gov. Snider ?!?!?! So what's with them feeling betrayed by our Governor? Guess what, with workers now given the freedom of choice, Unions are going to have to offer services of value to attract members. If I were them I would be worried, too. The years of blindly supporting teachers who were totally incompetent, their effort to remove the secret ballot voting priveledge of their members and giving jobs and pay back to employees who were caught drinking and smoking dope on the job have finally taken their toll on the reputation of all Unions. Only 17.5% of workers in our state are currently Unionized...down from 26% in 1990. We reap what we sow and the thug-like Union antics and violence we witnessed in Lansing this week have come home to roost.


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