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Opinion: Editorials

Union thugs use punches, not persuasion, in Michigan

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Opinion,Editorial

If you are on the fence about right-to-work laws, the YouTube video of conservative commentator and stand-up comedian Steven Crowder having his face bashed in Tuesday should be all you need to know to make up your mind. If you want to end special legal privileges and forced payments to organizations that have resorted to such violence and intimidation for years, then you'll come down strongly for right-to-work laws. A mob of unionists protesting Michigan's enactment of right-to-work legislation -- which allows workers to choose whether to pay union dues -- attacked a tent that had been pitched on the capitol grounds by peaceful counter-demonstrators. Crowder was among those pleading for restraint as the union thugs set upon the tent, using knives to slash its canvas and ties, so that it collapsed on the people inside. For standing in their way, Crowder was punched in the face three times, received a very loud and profane death threat, and was finally grabbed by his coat collar and pulled backwards as he attempted to retreat. The whole thing was caught on camera.

Of course, that's patty-cake compared to the violence that unions have used for years in order to get their way. In 1993, picketing members of the United Mine Workers shot and killed nonunion contractor Eddie York (the union fought his widow's lawsuit before finally settling out of court). The most telling part of that story was the not-so-conciliatory reaction from the union's then-president, Richard Trumka, who told the Washington Times: "If you strike a match and put your finger in, common sense tells you you're going to burn your finger."

Union bosses hate right-to-work laws the same way they hate every policy that tends to empower workers -- including their own members -- to make informed decisions about how they are represented in the workplace. This is why they pushed so hard to eliminate secret ballot votes in unionization elections. It is why they have pushed to shorten the time frame for those elections to the vanishing point, and to prevent employers from discussing the possible drawbacks of unionization with their employees. That is why they pushed to change the 70-year-old rules for airline and railroad union elections, so that a minority of workers can now force the majority into a union.

Right-to-work laws do not ban unions. They merely ensure that workers can no longer be coerced to pay them. They also create workplace conditions under which even union members are no longer a captive audience, forced to bow to whatever decisions the union leadership makes.

And that's what the union leaders fear most.

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