Skip to comments.Right-To-Work Matters for Some Michigan Businesses
Posted on 12/18/2012 8:28:29 PM PST by MichCapCon
AUBURN HILLS When Michigan-based Android Industries needed a place to expand this year, it chose Ft. Wayne, Ind.
"Indiana became a right-to-work state and (it) offers us a competitive location," Android Vice President of Human Resources David Donnay told the Indiana Economic Development Corp. Android added 4,000 square feet to a building and invested $7.3 million at the facility with a target of adding 70 employees.
So did the pending right-to-work law come too late for the company to consider Michigan?
"There are many factors that go into a decision on where to expand," Donnay said.
He said Android prefers right-to-work states because it gives workers a choice whether or not to financially support a union.
The auto-supplier, which specializes in complex modular systems primarily for Detroit's automakers, employs 2,200 workers throughout Europe and the Americas. Half of its plants are non-union facilities.
"If you treat your people right, they don't need a union," he said. The company bases wages and benefits on the market rate, he said, but he added that he does not anticipate wages and benefits changing in Michigan when it becomes a right-to-work state.
Android operates in two right-to-work states, Indiana and Texas. Donnay said the compensation packages in those facilities are identical to similar facilities in those areas. If the compensation packages in those states are too low, workers will go to other states, he said.
Donnay says he was surprised when he learned Michigan lawmakers were likely to approve a right-to-work law. He said he thinks a right-to-work law could open the door for Toyota and Honda to open a facility in Michigan, and he thinks it will preserve what he thinks was one of the best things to happen in the Detroit auto industry: the two-tiered pay system, which allowed the auto companies to hire new auto workers at lower wages than veteran workers.
Another company pleased with Michigan's decision to likely become right-to-work state is Indiana-based Steel Dynamics. The company operates in 27 states, including Michigan.
"We're not anti-union, but pro-choice," said Ben Eisbart, Steel Dynamics vice president for human resources.
However, Eisbart said he doesn't think a right-to-work law will influence the company's thinking in deciding where to expand or acquire companies.
"We purchased companies in Michigan before a right-to-work law," he said, adding that competitiveness and the productivity of acquired companies has to offset drawbacks from buying a company with a union workforce.
He said the company has maintained positive relations with its union workers, but he said what works best is allowing individual workers to reach their earnings potential based on incentives and productivity. He said he is convinced that kind of system allowed Steel Dynamics to get through the 2008 economic crash with no layoffs.
Right-to-work is good for corporations because it undermines the power of unions in general and allows them to deal with their workers the way they choose. Some of these dealings are great, i.e. better pay to harder/smarter workers rather than to older more senior workers. Some of these dealings are poor, i.e. promise a pension, then replace it with a 401-k with company matching, then a 401-k with no matching.
Every PR hack is a BSer. The corporate PR hacks are lying sacks of excrement just like their union brethren.
“Right-To-Work is good, but the companies are lying through their teeth when they claim that they like right-to-work because it is good for their employees.”
I guess it depends on one’s definition of “good for employees”. The forced-union states may be great for employees...until the factories shut down (rust belt, anyone).
As to the idea that companies can promise X and get away with delivering 0.6X instead - true. But watching your job go bye-bye to a new Toyota plant in Texas means that X just became 0.0X (i.e., nothing).
In any case, as long as workers have the right to get up and leave at will, I support the right of companies to change their policies at will. And, just about all workers now understand that promises by the company are worth the paper they’re written on, and they (now) accept this and plan accordingly.
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