Unions Set Michigan Students Aside to Protest Workplace Freedom

Thousands of kids in Michigan are missing school today. Can you guess why? It is December, so you might be tempted to think a snow day or some other inclement weather situation explains all the absences…. Sorry, try again. Maybe some sort of influenza or chicken pox epidemic, you might say?… Well, if you did, you’d be wrong once more. And no, it’s not “Take Your Daughter to Work Day” either, so don’t even bother with that guess. The real answer is a union-orchestrated political protest against legislation that would give workers more freedom in the workplace.

Michigan Capitol Confidential tells the story:

At least 26,000 children will miss school today because their teachers called in sick or took a vacation day to protest proposed right-to-work legislation, which is expected to pass today.

Warren Consolidated Schools, Taylor School District and Fitzgerald Public Schools are confirmed to be closed. It is also suggested that schools in Detroit and St. Johns may be missing a significant number of teachers.

For those who don’t know, a Right-to-Work law like the one being protested here simply guarantees that an employee cannot be forced to join or pay fees to a union as a condition of employment. Radical stuff, huh? Twenty-three states have preceded the Big Labor hotbed of Michigan in embracing this kind of workplace freedom. And other states have Right-to-Work in limited spheres — such as here in Colorado, where teachers have some true membership options.

And you know what? Even in a state where individual teachers have right-to-work protections, unions are not politically powerless. Nor is the practice of “sickouts” unknown here. But union leaders can certainly find the disruption of monopoly power to be threatening, and fire up the mobs to destroy property and threaten violence. [Teachers union-backed propaganda like this certainly helps that cause.]

But even for those not directly participating in the thuggery, what makes the power of coercion so important to skip out on their jobs and students? Wait, never mind: I’m having a Bob Chanin “NEA and its affiliates are effective because we have power” flashback. They must believe it’s more important to send a statement about making sure that funds can be squeezed out of non-member teachers than to educate students.

That’s two days in a row, my friends. Just like in the debate over the fiscal cliff and entitlement reforms, we clearly see union leaders aren’t exactly looking out for the best interests of children. But who is terribly surprised by that? Days like today can provide a lot of clarity.