Way, way back in January, just as Indiana Republicans were banning union shops in that state, insisting that it was the only way to grow jobs, the federal government released data showing that Indiana’s economy was already bouncing back. By that time, stripping union rights was almost done.
This month, when Michigan Republicans were banning union shops in their state, they said they wanted to be like Indiana. And now they are, in more than just weakening the unions. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that this year, for the first time in a long while, Michigan stopped losing people. Michigan’s population grew, just a titch, as people stopped moving away and instead started moving in. Whaddyaknow:
Two of the states where many Michigan residents moved to during the height of the trouble, Nevada and North Carolina, now have higher unemployment rates.
Both Nevada and North Carolina have laws than ban union shops, like the one Michigan just passed. Economic arguments for weakening unions tend not to last. The political effects, for Republicans and against Democrats, are more lasting.
Meanwhile in Michigan, the automobile industry continues to grow. General Motors announced yesterday that it will bring production of the new Camaro from Canada to Michigan. The company says the recent loss of union rights were not a factor. Rather, Camaros are rear-wheel-drive cars, and the plant in Lansing makes that kind of vehicle already, so it’s cheaper to be there. Also, in a painful concession, Michigan auto unions had already negotiated lower wages for new workers. Canadian workers have agreed to lower wages for newcomers, but the change is coming in more slowly. To the extent that the Camaro news is about labor costs, Michigan beat Canada to the bottom.