For a political novice, Gov. Rick Snyder shows a keen aptitude for picking his battles — unlike his seasoned counterparts in, say, Ohio and Wisconsin, where frontal assaults on organized labor threaten to derail their agendas and fuel recall efforts. As much as a push to make Michigan a right-to-work state might speed the Big Mitten’s economic rehabilitation, Snyder is smart enough to know the goal is not worth the cost because the home of the United Auto Workers and the Teamsters’ Jim Hoffa would see it as economic Armageddon and would react accordingly.
During an appearance today on NewsTalk 760-WJR’s “Frank Beckmann Show,” the governor said he doesn’t want to repeat the divisive campaigns roiling neighbhoring Great Lakes states. Why should he? The pressure of economic reality — declining public revenue amid rising anti-tax fervor among taxpayers — is forcing change on public-sector unions and their gilded packages. Second, a bloody campaign over right-to-work, either in a philosophically sympathetic Legislature or a statewide referendum, would bolster the “labor stronghold” image that right-to-work is supposed to destroy.
Put another way: Winning the battle could cost the war. Snyder is smart enough to know the accompanying heat would imperil his agenda, invalidate his call for “relentless positive action” and threaten his party’s control on the state House and Senate. And he’s right.