Stop The Wobbling

Sources at the Capitol tell me that the Employee Freedom Act – the proposed Right to Work Amendment – is in trouble.

The sources tell me the House GOP caucus leadership is going wobbly, and some caucus members are nervous about the money the unions say they’re going to bring to bear.

It’s time to call your House GOP caucus and its members, especially if you’re a constitiuent.  Encourage them to support the amendment.  Polls show the people support Right to Work by a significant margin.

Fortune favors the bold – and the DFL noise machine will play this like a victory they earned.

House GOP Caucuse:  Please stop the wobbling.

Right To Work

I don’t want to become one of those blogs that carry party press releases (I very rarely do this) and is all about calling people to one kind of action or another.

But this blog has always been about grassroots politics – mine, sure, but everyone else’s as well.

Anyway – the Right to Work amendment gets its hearing the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday.

I have it on good authority that some of the more moderate Republicans on the committee are getting a little squishy on this amendment.  They are afraid of all the union money that’s going to come into the state.  Fact is, the union money will always be there – but with RTW legislation popping up everywhere, it’s going to be spread a lot thinner than it will be in two or four years.  If not now, when?

So if you’ve got a senator on the committee, give ’em a call.  Encourage them to support the Right to Work amendment.  Encourage ’em to remember why they got sent there – and if it’s not a Freshman in the Senate, also encourage ’em to remember how they got the majority.

The Right To Work

Unlike most Democrats, I’ve been a union member.  I grew up in a union household.  I’ve got less against unions that most people.

Of course, in the private sector unions are largely irrelevant, especially outside of manufacturing and the large-scale trades.  I’ve been in the private sector my whole career, and I’ve only encountered a few union shops, much less members.  I was in a union for the duration of my only government job (a semester as a community college adjunct instructor), which is in keeping with most Americans’ experience; while unions are under 8% of the private sector workforce, they’re around 40% in government, mostly AFSCME, SEIU and the various teachers and academic unions.  About one in nine Americans overall are involved in unions.

And a large part of even that is because of the “closed shop”; in about half of American states, unions are allowed to require that industries only hire union workers.

And that’s what “Right to Work” is all about.  Under the closed-shop system, the unions never have to make a case to the workers for why they should join the union; it’s like it or lump it.  In Right to Work states, they have to prove their value to the workers.

The closed shop is all about the money, of course;  your dues money goes where the union wants it to go; while a little under half of union members identify as Republicans, 92% of their political donations go to Democrats, who in turn keep passing laws (when they’re in power) to make unions more powerful.  It’s a mutual back-scratching arrangement between the Democrat party and its biggest institutional supporters.

Minnesota is a “closed shop” state, meaning that legislators who owed their election to union money passed laws allowing industries, and government, to establish closed shops – legal monopolies, if you will, in the labor market.  In exchange, naturally, for keeping the money coming.

Republicans in the Minnesota Legislature are working to abolish the “closed shop” laws, which do very little to represent workers, and even less to create jobs (as a rule they cost jobs), but plenty to keep one political party awash in involuntary contributions.

The bill is currently in play:

St. Paul- Senator Dave Thompson (R-Lakeville) and Representative Steve Drazkowski (R-Mazeppa) announced the introduction of a constitutional amendment that would give Minnesotans the opportunity to vote on whether or not Minnesota workers should have the freedom to join a union or not. Currently, if someone is hired by a company with a collective bargaining agreement in place, that person is required to join the union or pay fair share dues.

“In Minnesota law, if a worker refuses to pay union dues, they are fired. This isn’t fair and it’s definitely not free,” Representative Drazkowski said. “To me, this is the most important pro-jobs bill we can pass this session. It’s estimated that had Minnesota passed this amendment 30 years ago, the average Minnesota working family would be earning an additional $7,000 or more every year. Nearly 70% of Minnesotans support employee freedom – let’s allow the people to decide whether they want to guarantee this fundamental right in our constitution.”

Minnesota’s left – the unions, and the DFL and “non-profits” they own, like “Take Action Minnesota” – are telling you that most Minnesotans oppose the amendment.  It’s a bald-faced lie, of course; Minnesotans support “right to work” legislation by a 2:1 margin according to Survey USA, and closer to 3:1 according to Rasmussen.

Unions make sense – but only as an element of a free market, a means of helping labor market and price its services.  But there is no reason that unions should be a de-facto arm of government (or, as they are in Minneapolis and Saint Paul, vice versa).

So it makes sense, right?

Here’s the problem.  Some Republicans in the Minnesota Senate are going squishy.  It’s understandable, to an extent; going after the closed shop is going to stir up a hornets nest of union activism and money.  No legislator, least of all one in a “Moderate” district, wants to face that.  But with right-to-work legislation popping up all over the Midwest, even the unions, rich as they are, have their limits. The time to go after the Closed Shop and push for Right to Work is now, because for the first time, we won’t be alone.  

If not now. when?

So if you support Right to Work, you need to do two things:

Contact your State Senator and encourage them to support Right to Work.  You can bet they’re getting an earful from people in purple T-shirts; if the unions do one thing well, it’s make their people put on t-shirts and go out and wave signs and chant and stomp their feet and act like they care about politics.  They need to hear from the vast majority of Minnesotans who speak for the rest of us.  Find your Senator; drop them an email, or (much) better yet, call or write a paper letter.  Encourage them to support the Right to Work amendment.

Contact the Senators on the Jobs And Economic Growth Committee.  They’ll be holding hearings on the bill, mostly likely this week.  They break out into three groups:

  • Conservative Republicans who need to be encouraged to remember that there’s a lot of support for Right to Work out there: Senators   Lillie,   Daley,  DeKruif,   Howe,  Miller, and  Nelson are all first-term freshmen; they could use calls to make they know where voters stand.  Senator John C. Pederson is a freshman, but under intense union pressure in a GOP district with a big knot of DFL/union support in the middle; he could use a lot of moral support.
  • Upperclass and “Moderate” Republicans who need to know that there’s a tailwind behind this amendment: We’re talking about committee chair Geoff Michel; a moderate from a “purple” district who is always targeted not only from the DFL but from conservatives in the GOP, he also has extra clout as the chair; he needs to know that Minnesotans will support him in supporting the amendment.
  • Metrocrats: Don’t bother.  None of them are doing anything this session but riding out time to try and earn that pension.  Senators Metzen, Dziedzic, Kelash, Tomassoni and Torres-Ray are fully owned by the unions; trying to change their vote might actually be chargeable as a property crime in Ramsey County.

And so if you’re a Minnesotan who supports the Right to Work, there’s your mission for this week.

Be polite.  Whether by email or (much better) by phone or snail mail, be concise and to the point; the staffer that takes the call is very busy, and we’re going to make them busier.  Make your point, wish ’em a nice day, and move along to the next Senator.

There’ll be more – Voter ID, Stand Your Ground – in coming days and weeks. But for this week, if you want to actually do something useful for a better, less-expensive Minnesota, that’s a big chunk of the job, right there.

So let’s get on it!

Chanting Points Memo: Nothing Here But Us Extremists

I was out of town last week during Governor Dayton’s frankly weird performance, referring to supporters of the “Right To Work” amendment as “Extreme”.

More on that – it ties in closely with my piece on the DFL’s new PR effort to flood the state with unsupportable memes on wedge issues designed to fool the uninformed and gullible – later this week.

It’s just interesting to note how many “extremists” there are out there, according this SurveyUSA poll covering Minnesotans’ attitudes on the Gay Marriage, Right To Work and Voter ID amendments seem to show that a majority of Minnesotans are, by Governor Dayton’s self-indulgent standard, “Extremists”.

Let’s go through the numbers one issue at a time:

Marriage Amendment

This is the weakest of the bunch so far; it’s winning by 47-39, and over the top in most of the cross tabs (other than 18-34 year olds, cell phone users, Democrats, Liberals and people making over $80K a year).

This is in line – and maybe a little better – than the results I found in the fall of 2010, when a Lawrence Poll showed that Minnesotans’ preferences swung strongly to Tom Emmer when they were clear that Emmer supported referenda or legislative rulings on the issue, while Dayton and Horner both supported legislating the issue from the bench.

The problem is that these numbers aren’t nearly good enough to pass the bill, given one quirk in Minnesota’s law when voting on constitutional amendments; blank votes are counted as “no” votes.  Everyone who supports an amendment must vote affirmatively “yes”.

So let’s assume the numbers in this poll’s “Not Sures” – 4% overall – break evenly between Yes and No on election day, bringing the actual results to 49-41 in favor; then “Not Votes” stay on the sidelines, becoming “No” votes, making the final vote a bare 51-49 against.  That’s not counting “Ritchie Votes”: the dead, people being vouched into multiple districts, people who aren’t legally entitled to vote, and the like.

Even without that, the measure loses by default. By this count, the Marriage Amendment needs to arf up at least three more points – five as insurance against “Ritchie Votes”.

With a state this polarized, it’s a tall order.

Right To Work

Minnesota is much less polarized here – and it shows.  Governor Dayton’s memes on the subject have been more fact-free and desperate than usual – “right to work states have lower wages!”, he declared, ignoring the other context (closed shop states tend to be more urban, coastal and have much higher costs of living as well as wages) – showing how hard the DFL is going to have to dig for votes on this issue.

“Right To Work” leads 55-24% overall.  It leads in every single cross tab – the narrowest is 35-32 among identified liberals.  Bad news for the DFL – it leads among women even more than among men; more among the young than the old;

More importantly?   Even if you take the 12% “not sure” vote and split it evenly among “Yes”, “No” and “Not Voting” , the numbers become 59-28-13, which really means 59-41 (remember, blank votes become “No”, as noted above).  Even if every undecided voter decides to side with the unions – in other words, the hopelessly unrealistic breaks, things about as likely as me getting a third date with Amy Adams – or just sit the issue out, the issue ends up at 55-45.

It’ll take a lot of “Ritchie Votes” to beat “the extremists” on this issue.

Photo ID

Perhaps the best news of the poll is that the left’s idiot memes about Voter ID – “it disenfranchises the poor, the elderly and college students – are falling not so much on deaf ears, but ears that mock their idiocy.

During the 2010 campaign, the meme of the right was that Voter ID had 2-1 support in Minnesota.  The SUSA poll shows it’s actually 3-1 with a bullet; the measure currently leads 70-23.

The cross tabs?  Again – the measure is more popular among women than men (73% of women favor it, vs. 66% of men); more among younger voters, with a 77-20 lead among 35-49 year old voters); more among the educated (71-24 among college grads ys 63-23 among high school grads); about evenly across all income bands; even by 69-24 in the Twin Cities.

Most significantly?  Only 4% of Minnesotans are undecided on the subject, and 4% more claimed they’ll “not vote” on the issue.  Even if every single undecided voter is convinced to vote against the issue or sit it out, the measure passes 70-31%.

Even Mark Ritchie will have a hard time rigging this one.


Caveat up front; the conclusions below presume the SUSA poll is accurate.  The poll is of registered voters, rather than likely voters, which is inherently less accurate on the one hand, but traditionally skews things to the left on the other hand; for purposes of the conclusions below, I’ll presume those two factors roughly cancel each other out.

GOP legislative candidates need to closely align themselves with the Right To Work and Photo ID issues.  They need to hammer on their support for Right to Work and Voter ID, and the positive things that both bring to this state – more jobs, and an election system with actual integrity (although Voter ID is only one of many reforms needed).

The Marriage Amendment strikes me as a loser for GOP candidates – not because it’s off the ideological beam (although as a libertarian conservative, I’m less enthusiastic about it than some Republicans), but because presuming that this poll is accurate, candidates will spend more time and effort supporting the amendment than being supported by it.  By tying themselves to amendments that seem likely to pass overwhelmingly and which show the deep wedge between the DFL and the GOP, on issues where the DFL is both wrong and diametrically opposed to a crushing majority of Minnesotans, the GOP wins free votes; the Marriage Amendment will cost time and effort to prop up at the polls.  Not to say the votes can’t be found, but it’s going to take a lot of time and effort – which is the job of the various pro-marriage groups, not candidates.

The other takeaway, in light of the Governor’s prate and gabble on the subject(s)?  In every case, with all three of these amendments, the conservative, “extreme” position is the mainstream.

But we knew that.

See more on the subject from Ed Morrissey.