Response : Right to Work questionaire

News Release: With Questionnaire Post-Word.
July 14, 2008

Abbasse Position on Right to Work Laws

Right-wing swing groups have been proposing ‘right to work’ laws and have even introduced them in the Michigan House HB5771 & 5772 (06). I believe the Michigan Legislature would be the appropriate test location as a pilot program for this supposed economic stimulus theory.

The Citizens of the great State of Michigan should consider using “Right to Work” standards or applying those standards in payment to legislators. Such as a maximum of $14.00 per hour @ 40 hours per week, salary and they work however many hours it takes to get the job done.

Maybe they should be responsible for their own expenses such as petroleum, lodging, and food. Of course, health care programs or pension programs would not be available since they cannot have bargaining rights and benefits are solely at the employer’s discretion ( which happen to be the citizens of the State of Michigan) so a vote would be required by the population to approve or disapprove of any benefits to be offered.

Basic expense allotment could be made for those that live outside a radius of 50 miles from the Capitol if the voters of those district so approve and allot the expenditure, again by vote of the people to authorize the additional expenditure of tax revenue that they of course pay.

Possibly voters might include 1 trip home per week, Rooming expense at $100.00 per week and 3 meals served at the local County Jail while the House and Senate are in session. I raise this point as a matter of conservation. If we already are having, state funds pay for meals to be served to inmates, why not save tax payer revenues and allow those elected the same food they authorize for the prison system. I have some ideas how this could work. Each principle falls directly in line with what “Right to Work” has to “offer” Michigan Workers.

As I started to write this in jest, I find myself in curious wonderment of how many would run for office if this were the case. Would citizen serve their state because it is the duty of every citizen to serve the Constitution or would citizens refuse or would citizens support?

If this is the Right-wings solution to strengthen Michigan’s economy, then it should be a top-down program, which proves the program is worth a more detailed investigation.


Al was invited to respond to the Michigan Right to Work Committee Questionnaire a few years ago, these were his responses then and they have not changed for 2008 as the questions did not change.

Right to Work Questionnaire Response

Michigan Right to Work Committee
Michigan 2006 Candidacy Survey

Al’s Responses are in RED

A state Right to Work law provides that no worker can be denied a job because he or she either joins or does not join a union. Such a law guarantees that each individual worker can freely choose whether or not to support a union.
Will you support enactment of a State Right to Work law by the Michigan State Legislature?

——————Yes                                                   ———-XXX——-No

The State of Michigan has granted public sector union officials the monopoly power to bargain for every person employed within a work unit—including those individuals who do not desire union representation. Monopoly bargaining usurps employees’ rights to bargain on their own behalf and inevitably leads to poorer service at higher costs. For these reasons Right to Work supporters oppose any imposition of monopoly bargaining over public employees by union officials.
Will you support legislation that ends monopoly bargaining over public employees by union officials?

——————Yes                                                  ———-XXX—–No
Response: 2a) Your statement of, “The State of Michigan has granted public sector…” is incorrect and false. Those employees’ of the state have agreed to allow THEIR Elected leadership to negotiate fair and just labor contracts for them. Furthermore, the bargaining that takes place between union represented employees’ is no different than contracts negotiated by Labor contractors, Pharmaceutical Companies, Food Distributors or any number of independent groups that contract with the State of Michigan.
Response: 2b) I am curious. As an Economist, when I make presentations or answer questions, I am required to uphold and support my positions with data. Please share with me and anyone that reads this questionnaire what the number of state employees’ is that do not want or support their representation? My reason for asking is that, in order for Union recognition, a majority of the employees had to agree to representation. That being said, what is the difference if 51% of the employees want union representation or 51% of representatives in the Michigan Legislature vote to raise taxes? If the employees’ do not desire or want representation, they will vote to end said representation. I feel they have sufficient control of their own needs and desires and deserve the same equal treatment as any other contractor.

In the public sector, “agency shop” clauses in so-called collective bargaining agreements compel public employees who choose to join a union to pay up tot 100% of union dues. The employees are forces to pay or be fired even if they do not want union representation.
Will you support legislation terminating forced dues privileges for public sector union officials?

———————–Yes                                            ———-XXXX—–No

Response: You refer to “so-called collective bargaining…” Bargaining for employees that have CHOSEN representation, is not “so-called”. It is real and is for the benefit of hard working Michigan Citizens that also are hard working employees of this state. Union membership dues are no different than the dues paid by commercial enterprises that belong to group associations that provide lobbying efforts on behalf of commercial enterprise for preferred legislation that benefits their industry or their enterprise only. The “association” of like minds is working to benefit themselves for their own benefit. The employees are performing a service for the citizens of Michigan and only wish parity and a fair standard of living for services provide.

Some states penalize employers who hire permanent replacement workers during an economic strike. Also, any worker who crosses a picket line could be subject to the loss of his or her job at the end of the strike. This situation forces workers to support any strike called by the union hierarchy.
Will you support legislation ensuring employers can hire permanent replacement workers during economic strikes?

————————-Yes                                         ————XXXX—-No

Response: Again you have made a misleading statement. Union Hierarchy CANNOT call a strike and force workers to strike. The employees’ must vote to APPROVE any strike action by a full majority of the employee membership. Union Hierarchy must enforce the actions as required by its membership. If the Employee Membership instructs its leadership to pursue a strike action, then they are obligated to follow the employees direction.

Currently in Michigan, state law authorizes the use of so-called project labor agreement,” which can keep non-union companies from bidding or working on state-funded projects. These agreements ensure that more workers are corralled into forced unionism and lead to more spending and higher taxes.
If elect, will you support a ban on all “Project Labor Agreement” which would allow contractors to bid on state construction projects regardless of whether or not their employees pay dues to a union official?

—————————Yes                                      ———-XXX——No

Response: Again, you have made a false and reckless statement. Union dues are not paid to “Union Officials”. Dues are paid to fund the organization. “Union Officials” ARE ELECTED by the employees. To answer this question correctly requires an economic response. As an economist I would answer the question as follows:

Project agreements are by design and structure for the purpose of providing a competitive arena for the contracting of labor, materials and community needs and socio-economic benefit. We all understand that different communities have different standards of living. With that said, it would be unjust for a community like Lansing to project cost a project using  Los Angels California  costs. The competitive edge must be to maintain and fund the cost and impact of the presiding community. Therefore, by maintaining community standards within socio-economic zones, communities are protected from companies, organizations and other commercial interests that could LOWER the Standards of Living within a community and thereby crippling local economies.

Additional Comments:

As an Economist, I believe we need forethought and programs to allow Michigan to Grow. Right to Work laws do not make communities stronger or more competitive. They do however reduce the Standard of Living of community members; widen the gap between higher and lower income strata, Lower community economic resources and provide a slippery slope to lower middle class standards of living.

Please remember, without a middle class, there is NO Democracy.

Albert S. Abbasse                                                      July 10, 2006

Mr. Albert S. Abbasse (D)
Michigan Senate District 28 Candidate

Please return completed and signed surveys by July 11, 2006
Michigan Right to Work Committee
5859 W. Saginaw Hwy. #217
Lansing, MI 48917-1756

Additional Statement:

To set the record (and the name) straight, right to work for less does not guarantee any rights. In fact, by weakening unions and collective bargaining, it destroys the best job security protection that exists: the union contract. In fact, this past August of 2006, Gallop Polls conducted a poll with 1001 adults nationwide with a +(-) of 3. The questions and results are as follows:
*Do you approve or disapprove of labor unions?
58% of Respondents “Approved” of Unions.
Only 19% of respondents were union members.
*Do you think labor unions mostly help or mostly hurt “The US economy in general”.
54% of respondents opined that “Union” help.
Meanwhile, “Right to Work Laws” allow workers to pay nothing and get all the benefits of union membership. Right to work laws say unions must represent all eligible employees, whether they pay dues or not. This forces unions to use their time and members’ dues money to provide union benefits to free riders who are not willing to pay their fair share.

Right to work laws lower wages for everyone. The average worker in a right to work state makes about $5,333 a year less than workers in other states ($35,500 compared with $30,167). Weekly wages are $72 greater in free-bargaining states than in right to work states ($621 versus $549). Working families in states without right to work laws have higher wages and benefit from healthier tax bases that improve their quality of life.

Federal law already protects workers who don’t want to join a union to get or keep their jobs. Supporters claim right to work laws protect employees from being forced to join unions. Don’t be fooled—federal law already does this, as well as protecting nonmembers from paying for union activities that violate their religious or political beliefs. This individual freedom argument is a sham.

Right to work endangers safety and health standards that protect workers on the job by weakening unions that help to ensure worker safety by fighting for tougher safety rules. According to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, the rate of workplace deaths is 51 percent higher in states with right to work, where unions can’t speak up on behalf of workers.

Right to work laws just aren’t fair to dues-paying members. If a nonunion worker is fired illegally, the union must use its time and money to defend him or her, even if that requires going through a costly legal process. Everyone benefits, so all should share in the process. Nonmembers can even sue the union if they think it has not represented them well enough.


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