Mother Jones: right to work could spread beyond Michigan

Feb 2, 2014

Right to Work Protest in Lansing December, 2012
Credit Equality Michigan/Wikimedia Commons

When Governor Rick Snyder signed legislation making Michigan the 24th "right to work" state it was a blow to the labor movement. 

But a story for Mother Jones Magazine shows how conservatives want to use Michigan as an example for the rest of the country. Reporter Andy Kroll, a Portage Central High School graduate, wrote the story for Mother Jones. WMUK's Gordon Evans interviewed Kroll about how the "right to work" law was passed and what it could mean in other states. 

Kroll says without the money and influence of Amway heir Dick DeVos making Michigan a "right to work" state would probably still be a "conservative pipe dream." 

After DeVos lost his bid for Michigan governor in 2006, he had polling information that was favorable to "right to work" in Michigan. Kroll says DeVos and his allies built the ground work over the next five years, and waited for the right moment to push the idea.

Kroll says DeVos has been very public since the law passed in Michigan. The Grand Rapids businessman has spoken at various conservative think tanks and institutions about how "right to work" became reality in Michigan. 

The Democratic party fears the spread of "right to work" laws. Kroll says despite declining union membership, they are still an important part of the party's fund-raising and organization. Kroll says that's why unions and Democrats view "right to work" laws as "toxic." 

A longer interview with Andy Kroll can be heard Wednesday morning at 9:20 on WestSouthwest.