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Liberals vs. libertarians: Right to work legislation

In 2013 Mich. Gov. Rick Snyder signed right to work legislation. Liberals immediately revolted against the law holding demonstrations at the State Capitol in Lansing.

Union members from around the country rally at the Michigan State Capitol to protest a vote on Right-to-Work legislation December 11, 2012 in Lansing, Mich.
Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

Liberals claim that if a company is unionized everyone benefits. Therefore, the logic continues, everyone should be forced to join the union and pay union dues.

The libertarian view is that people should be free to pursue the career of their choice without having to join a union.

Some professions, such as teaching at public schools, working for a municipality or the post office, broadcasting and public utility workers are almost 100% unionized. It is impossible to work in these professions without being a union member short of right to work legislation.

Many people object to supporting unions because of their heavy political activity which heavily or totally favors the Democrat Party. These views are often counter to the beliefs of Libertarians, Republicans and Independents.

Libertarians did not always feel this way. Milton Friedman compared right to work laws to ant-discrimination laws in his book “Capitalism and Freedom”. He saw them as unnecessary laws because he viewed these issues were already addressed by the Constitution. Peter L. Graves also disagreed with passing right to work laws. He wrote that the law allowing unions should have been repealed instead of trying to correct the bad unionization law with another law.

Although their names are similar their views on many issues are quite different. Liberals and libertarians may start with the same sounds but opinions differ greatly on many issues important to voters. This series is an attempt by your examiner to clarify those views.

This is part of a series of Detroit’s political views is taken by permission from the “Political Cultures” section of the educational website with locally relevant additions by your Detroit political buzz examiner.

© Max Impact, used with permission.

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