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Freedom to work offers a choice



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December 26, 2012 - Session has now come to a close for the 2011-2012 legislative term and I am extremely proud of all that has been accomplished over this two-year period. In my first term as a state representative, we changed the way things are done in Lansing by balancing Michigan's budget based on real dollars and reforming our government to help get Michigan back on track. While there is a lot to be proud of, I recently voted for a once-in-a-lifetime change for Michigan workers and want to clear up misconceptions and explain what this legislation really does.

Freedom to Work gives Michigan workers the choice of whether to belong to a union or not. The most help we can give to hard-working taxpayers trying to provide for their family, is by giving them the choice of where to spend their hard-earned dollars. It is simply wrong for Michigan workers to be forced to join any organization they don't want to join. Contrary to popular belief, passing Freedom to Work is not about retaliation. It is about differing schools of thought in economics and implementing greater freedom in the market to improve the status quo. Collective bargaining is enshrined in law and remains a protected right, but now workers have the freedom to choose whether they want to participate. Under Freedom to Work, unions become more efficient by making them compete against non-union labor forces for membership.

This pro-worker law (which won't impact union workers until their current contract is up) will restore fairness and opportunity to Michigan workplaces. No longer will workers have to join a union as a condition of employment. The days of forced unionization and dues deductions will soon be over. Michigan workers will now be in charge of their own careers and will be able to decide how their money is spent.

Freedom to Work is also about making our state more competitive so that we can attract jobs from other states and around the world back to Michigan. To make our state a great place to establish a career, we need to first make Michigan a better place to provide a job. In my research I looked at states similar to ours like Indiana, which, after passing similar legislation, saw over 90 companies move into their state as a direct result. I believe without a doubt we will see unemployment positively affected over the next couple of years. We have made great strides in over the past two years, but having Freedom to Work is going to ensure a successful future for this great state.

States that give workers the freedom to choose have consistently outperformed states where workers are forced to join. Critics have said that this change will lead to lower wages and I completely disagree. Reports showing this trend are compared with states that have a lower cost of living, making the difference, if there is one, seem significant. States with Freedom to Work laws provide more jobs and workers in those states enjoy a higher standard of living. This is what we need in Michigan and I strongly believe that Freedom to Work will take us there.v

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