Washington Post's Marcus: 'Unions Aren't Going to Survive When People Have a Choice'

Appearing on MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell Reports on Tuesday, liberal Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus lashed out against passage of Michigan's right-to-work law: "Unions are reeling, and the more states that enact measures like this, the more unions will be reeling....unions aren't going to survive when people have a choice of whether to ante up the dues or to get the benefit of being free-riders." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]

Reacting to Mitchell's contentious interview with Michigan's Republican Governor Rick Snyder seconds earlier, Marcus ranted: "I thought some of the Governor's comments were kind of Orwellian, to suggest that this was a pro-worker move. It's clearly a move that may help businesses, but what a kick in the teeth to auto workers unions..."

Marcus seemed to miss the irony of following that comment with her own Orwellian assertion that taking away people's freedom was in their best interest.


Here is a transcript of the December 11 exchange:

1:07PM ET

ANDREA MITCHELL: And joining me here in the studio for her take on what we've just heard from [Michigan] Governor [Rick] Snyder, and also the current state of the fiscal cliff negotiations in Washington, is our colleague and friend Ruth Marcus from the Washington Post, columnist from the Washington Post. Ruth, this whole union issue now in the Midwest, this used to be most likely in the southern states, but this really is moving, and we're seeing a real decline in union household membership, about half what it was 40 years ago. It used to be 24%. Now it's about 11.8%.

RUTH MARCUS: Unions are reeling, and the more states that enact measures like this, the more unions will be reeling. Their penetration in the private sector is something like 7% of the private sector work force is unionized.

And I have to say, and I don't use words like this very often, I thought some of the Governor's comments were kind of Orwellian, to suggest that this was a pro-worker move. It's clearly a move that may help businesses, but what a kick in the teeth to auto workers unions, who, as you correctly pointed out, gave a lot back to help the auto industry get back on its feet. The notion that we had to do this now with this lame-duck session because they raised it in some other proposition is bizarre to me. And the notion that this is – ask auto workers in Michigan whether they would be better off with or without unions, of course, their bargaining position is stronger with unions. And – but unions aren't going to survive when people have a choice of whether to ante up the dues or to get the benefit of being free-riders. It's going to be very difficult for the union movement to continue.

(...)

Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC