Protect Michigan Workers

For 10 years, Michigan has been a right-to-work state, meaning no one can be forced to pay dues or fees to a union in order to work. In November 2022, Democrats won a legislative majority in the state House and Senate, and their leadership says they are going to try to repeal Michigan’s right-to-work law.

This would take Michigan backwards. At least 140,000 Michigan workers have left their unions, and tens of thousands would be forced to pay hundreds of dollars annually to labor unions against their will. It would also harm Michigan’s economy, taking us off the list of where many large manufacturing companies want to locate their plants. It would stagnate job, income and population growth.

I’ve worked at Ford for 25 years now. The unions of today are not the unions of our grandfathers. They don’t do their intended purpose of just representing the employees in the realms of the workplace.

The political and social agenda, the election day politics and the millions of dollars of union spending each and every day is for me the biggest issue why I can no longer support the UAW.

Terry Bowman
Ford Plant Worker

Share Your Story!

Share your story and see stories of other workers who have resigned their membership.

Contact your lawmakers and tell them how you feel about a potential repeal of Michigan’s right-to-work law.

Michigan’s Done Better Since Lawmakers Passed Right-to-Work


From January 2002 to December 2012, Michigan’s unemployment rate averaged 8.5%. Since RTW was passed, from January 2013 to October 2022, the most recent month, Michigan’s unemployment rate averaged 6.0%. And that includes the huge spike in unemployment after the nation’s strictest lockdown.

The Michigan labor force was down 350,657 over the nine years prior to RTW, a 7.0% decline. It was up 90,648 people in the nine years after, 1.9% increase.

Personal Income

Inflation-adjusted average incomes in Michigan rose 0.6% in the nine years before RTW and 21.9% in the nine years after RTW.


Michigan lost 120,401 people over the nine years prior to RTW and added 130,060 people in the nine years after.

Education Funding

Per-pupil inflation-adjusted all source education funding was down 8.3% in the eight years prior to RTW and up 13.1% in the eight years after.

Number of Jobs

Michigan lost 379,400 jobs in the nine years prior to RTW and added 155,100 jobs in the nine years after. (It was up to 404,400 jobs before the governor began the strictest pandemic lockdown in the country.)

State Tax Revenue

(More jobs and income generates more state revenue)

The state budget, excluding federal revenue and the small amounts of local and private funding, was down 17.9% in the 10 years prior to RTW, when adjusting for inflation. The inflation-adjusted budget was up 15.3% in the 10 years after passing RTW.

Union Membership

At least 140,000 people have exercised their freedom of choice and opted out of union membership since RTW was passed in Michigan.

However, since the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Janus guarantees RTW for all government employees, repeal of RTW would have no impact on public sector unions.

The Economic Facts

  • Right-to-work states have long been doing better economically. For decades, they have had better job growth, faster income growth and more population growth than non-right-to-work states.

  • In October 2022, the unemployment rate in right-to-work states was 3.4%, but in forced unionization states it was 3.9%.

  • Research published in 2022 shows that the share of manufacturing employment in border counties in states that adopted right-to-work after 2000 was nearly 21% higher in 2018 than it would have been absent the law. In Michigan and Indiana, the share of manufacturing employment in a given county was 26% and 27% higher, respectively, than it would have been absent a right-to-work law.

  • In recent years, since the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States, right-to-work states have more than fully recovered their initial job losses. Right-to-work states have added 1.6 million jobs in the past two years, a 2.1% increase. Forced unionization states, on the other hand, have lost 809,000 jobs, a 1.1% decrease.

  • 867,104 people moved from forced unionization states to RTW states from 2020 to 2021.

  • A Harvard study found that the share of manufacturing employment was 28% higher in right-to-work states than non-right-to-work states they bordered. Importantly, they also find that “wages and labor compensation do not appear to be lower on average.”