Tomorrow evening, at Ypsilanti’s Corner Brewery, celebrated Detroit journalist Jack Lessenberry will be hosting a panel discussion on Michigan’s newly passed anti-union (“right-to-work”) legislation, and how it will likely impact working Michiganders, their employers, and the financial prospects of the state. There’s scant information available online, but a friend who works for Michigan Radio tells me that, in addition to other folks, who haven’t yet committed, Lessenberry will be joined by F. Vincent Vernuccio, the Director of Labor Policy at The Mackinac Center for Public Policy, and Kristin Dziczek, the Director of the Labor & Industry Group at the Center for Automotive Research. (Hopefully Lessenberry arranges for someone from organized labor to be there as well, to offset the presence of the representative of the Mackinac Center.)
To get a sense of what Lessenberry is likely to say, here’s audio of him speaking in December with Detroit News reporter Daniel Howes about the historic context of the bill, just as it was being pushed through the Michigan legislature.
For what it’s worth, I don’t buy the narrative that Lessenberry is pushing about how the unions, by attempting to pass Proposition 2, had forced Snyder to get behind the lame duck push for right-to-work. I can certainly see why Snyder would like for people to think that, but I believe RNC Finance Chair Ron Weiser when he says that right-to-work was on the agenda from the beginning. Still, though, I appreciate Lessenberry’s mater-of-fact historical take on all of this. As someone who’s inclined to have his outlook clouded by righteous indignation, I find it necessary, on occasion, to listen to people who can keep their cool, and focus on facts.
[note: A shorter, more recent audio piece by Lessenberry on the historical context of right-to-work in Michigan can be found here.]