It seemed to happen in a flash. A cradle of the U.S. labor movement became the 24th state to adopt right-to-work laws, when Republican Governor Rick Snyder of Michigan signed legislation last week banning mandatory union dues.
The unions barely had time to muster one big protest in the state capital after the Republican-controlled Legislature approved the bills last week. Today they are preparing for a long war to recover from this huge blow to their power.
Labor has two options now that its ability to extract mandatory dues from workers as a condition for employment is gone. It can fight the law or try to persuade workers to voluntarily pay up.
Union bosses aren’t accustomed to the second approach, so until the next elections in 2014 they can be expected to try everything to overturn the law and to stop the right-to-work fever from spreading to neighboring states.