News Bite

Michigan Workers’ Incomes Up Since Right-To-Work Became Law

Union activists’ ‘right to work for less’ snarks had it exactly backwards

On Dec. 9, 2012, the Detroit Free Press published several letters to the editor that criticized a recently passed right-to-work bill in Michigan. This bill, which took effect in early 2013, made it unlawful in the state for employers to require workers to pay union dues as a condition of employment.

Under a headline that read: “The right to work for less,” activist and public school teacher Greg Talberg said, “Right-to-work legislation will have a devastating impact on the already shrinking Michigan middle class. … Without powerful unions, middle-class worker are powerless to demand fair wages and benefits. In a system driven by greed, the only way to get fair wages is to demand and bargain for them; they won’t simply be given based on a sense of justice on the part of management.”

Eight years ago, on Dec. 11, 2012, then-Gov. Rick Snyder signed the right-to-work legislation into law.

From 2012 to 2019, inflation-adjusted personal income in Michigan increased from $43,493 to $49,228, a 13.2% real increase.

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.