Michael J. Reitz is executive vice president of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy.

The Wall Street Journal says Michigan is the new battlefield in organized labor’s national campaign to preserve political power. In a Labor Day editorial, The Journal discusses the so-called “Protect Our Jobs” amendment that would enshrine collective bargaining in the Michigan Constitution. The editorial reflects the work of Mackinac Center analysts, noting the effect of the proposal: “The amendment would reduce the ability of Michigan lawmakers to change labor laws and end-run efforts to give workers a choice about whether to join a union.” The Journal also notes that organized labor hopes to invalidate and ban other meaningful reforms with passage of the amendment.

This editorial confirms what Mackinac Center experts have been saying for months: POJA is part of a national effort by organized labor to reverse a long decline in union membership. Union officials realize that if they cannot recruit members by offering a desired service, union power can only be preserved by enshrining a monopoly in the law.

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There aren’t many policies that get near unanimous support from economists, but free trade is one of them. Despite this, a central theme of the 2016 presidential campaign, heard from both political parties, was that free trade was somehow harmful to the United States and corrective action was needed. Mark Perry, an economics professor at the University of Michigan-Flint and scholar with the American Enterprise Institute, makes the case for why President Trump’s assessment of free trade is misguided.

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