Windmillin'

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Where politics and faith dance in the shadow of the windmill.

Longing for the return of the Buffalo

A generation ago Michigan (and midwestern) industrial policy faced two challenges: off shoring and increased union militancy.  That legacy lives on.

Sunday, The Grand Rapids Press began its series on how to bring Michigan back, and initially, some of the solutions seem, well, old.  Apparently to read the thoughts of industrialists, our problem is that of labor policy.  As the comment board at the Press quickly made clear, that was understood as making Michigan a Right to Work (RTW) state.  Some of this arises from the loss of a Toyota plant in Grand Rapids, a fault laid at the feet of the UAW; some part too, comes from an older history of militancy, particularly during the Yokich years. It was not just the militants at Delphi, but a longer narrative of union activity in our state.   And practically speaking, it is the legacy of union pensions, and union-won healthcare — this economic overhang — that left domestic automakers with a burden.

The complaint in short, is that the unions have cost the state opportunity.  Thus, no unions, more growth.  Two observations however should temper this easy (too easy!) manner of thinking.

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