Michigan got it right yesterday when they voted for "right to work", even though our organizer n chief thinks not.
It’s been a contentious week for both Chrysler and the United Auto Workers, not to mention organized labor forces across Michigan. Late last week, arbitrators reinstated workers at Chrysler’s Jefferson North complex who were caught drinking and smoking during breaks; today, Michigan legislators approved so-called right-to-work legislation.
It’s been roughly two years since an investigative reporter for MyFox Detroit found workers at Chrysler’s Jefferson North assembly plant drinking and smoking marijuana during sanctioned breaks. The video subsequently went viral, a big publicity setback for then-just-bailed-out Chrysler (and the Jeep Grand Cherokee, Jefferson North’s chief export, one of Chrysler’s best models). In the aftermath, Chrysler suspended two workers and fired 13; under the terms of the UAW’s collective bargaining agreement with Chrysler, those 13 workers contested the firings by filing grievances. When those grievances were denied by Chrysler, the argument went to arbitration. The arbitrator subsequently ruled that there was insufficient evidence against the workers and reinstated them; the workers returned to the lines last week.
In a statement posted on its blog, Chrysler begrudgingly accepted the verdict, saying “we’re in the tough spot of having to accept the arbitrator’s decision, just as the union must when the ruling is in favor of the company.”
It’s a minor setback for Chrysler and a win for the employees, but there’s really no time for celebration: in an unrelated move, Michigan legislators dealt a crushing blow to unions like the UAW in approving laws dubbed “right-to-work” by proponents.