In the first year since the Wolverine State adopted a right to work law in 2013, SEIU Healthcare Michigan lost a staggering 80 percent of its members.
The case illustrates a dirty secret of the modern labor movement: A lot of its rank and file members don't want to be in a union in the first place and will leave if given the chance.
What right to work did in Michigan, the Supreme Court might soon do nationally: In the case of Harris v. Quinn, the justices must decide if Illinois state government can force its own public sector employees to participate in a union. If the ruling is “no,” that could effectively extend right to work laws to all public sector employees.
The possibility has labor law experts closely watching the case. About half of all union members nationally - more than 7 million people - work in the public sector. Many, possibly a majority, are in workplaces that were unionized before they were hired, so they never had a chance to decide for themselves. Many may leave, hurting Big Labor's already-sliding membership numbers.