{{show_title_date || "Scarborough: What's wrong with the freedom to work where you want?, 12/11/12, 7:00 PM ET"}}

Scarborough: What’s wrong with the freedom to work where you want?


“Unions play an absolutely critical role, especially in an era where the rich are getting richer, the poor are getting poorer,” Joe Scarborough stated Wednesday morning during a discussion about Michigan and the labor battle currently taking place there over the right-to-work legislation signed into law Tuesday by the state’s Republican Gov. Rick Snyder.

“But, am I anti-union, is somebody anti-union…for saying…I should be able to work where I want to work and pay union dues if I want to pay union dues? Is that a demonstrably anti-union position or is that just supporting freedom?,” he continued.

On Tuesday, Michigan became the 24th right-to-work state after Snyder signed two bills into law. Right-to-work refers to a union requiring a worker to pay dues as part of being employed. Michigan, which Morning Joe regular Mike Barnicle notes “was such a part of the core of unionism in this country,” estimates that roughly 17.5%  of its workers are unionized.

The bills have been highly controversial in Michigan, and thousands gathered yesterday at the Capitol in Lansing to make their voices heard on the issue.

“Right-to-work. What does it mean? It means that unions can force somebody to pay them if they want to get a job in the state of Michigan,” Scarborough said.

Barnicle disagreed: “What it means is if you get a job, the union extracts money from your paycheck for union dues.”

Scarborough continued to discuss the importance of a worker’s right to choose to opt out of paying dues.

“As I said, unions built the middle class of America, and if I have to choose between a CEO making lots of money and the money getting spread around in a free market system, I’ll take the money getting spread around…[But] what if I don’t want to pay you? What if I don’t want to support the candidates you want to support? What if all the candidates you support are the antithesis of my values? Too bad.”