The State of Michigan has seen better days. Once a symbol of the industrial might of the United States, Michigan’s boom days are considered long since past. Having been controlled by unions since shortly after World War II, Michigan rode the wave of the post-war boom before beginning a long and steady spiral downward as the Big Three began shedding jobs, and high unemployment helped lead to high crime rates as urban blight ravaged its cities. In fact, despite decades worth of efforts and studies [in PDF] done on the troubles Motor City has, Detroit still faces a possible bankruptcy in 2011.
Now, however, as a result of the November 2nd election, there is potential to bring Michigan back from the abyss. Union-bought Democrats have finally lost their death grip on Michigan’s taxpayers and employers. This has given one man, Steve Harry, a retired state worker, the incentive to take matters into his own hands and begin working to change Michigan’s future by changing its labor laws and breaking the stranglehold unions still have on the state:
A retired but energetic state employee said Tuesday that he is set to launch a campaign to rewrite major sections of Michigan’s Constitution and labor law to make government less expensive and the state’s economic climate more competitive.
Steve Harry, 68, of Lansing, a retired systems analyst, said his “mother of all petition drives” will include proposals that would:
• Eliminate the state Senate and term limits.
• Ban collective bargaining for public employees.
• Make Michigan a right-to-work state.
Harry said the proposals are the kind of radical transformation Michigan desperately needs and that its politicians have been incapable of delivering. Collective bargaining for government employees drives up the cost of services and imposes tax burdens on the private sector, he said. Making union membership voluntary in the private sector, the right-to-work proposal, would enhance personal freedom and send a signal to potential employers that Michigan is open for business, he said. [Emphasis added.]
Although he is currently the only member, Mr. Haley has only recently set up The Committee to Transform Michigan and is looking to have a serious petition-signing campaign begin next summer. Haley is serious about this effort and has set up a website, www.transformmichigan.org, where you can learn more about his efforts.
While the debate over whether or not Michigan moves to become the nation’s 23rd Right-to-Work state has raged in Michigan off and on for years. The last serious attempt was just two years ago, but it ultimately failed. This time, though, may be different.
Perhaps Mr. Haley will get enough people involved to help change Michigan’s union-dominated culture. If he does, it might be possible to begin reversing the decades-long decay that has plagued the state. It is time to give Michigan the fighting chance to prosper again and the only thing that stands in its way are the unions.
“I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes.” Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776