Choice is a wonderful thing. It permeates virtually every aspect our lives. We choose whom we love; what career to pursue; and where to live, etc.
Choice is also deeply woven into our Democracy. We pick our leaders and unpick them. We can participate in protests or choose to sit on the sidelines and let the other guy correct any social injustices.
In recent days Republicans in this state have been on a choice kick. In the political biz words mean a lot which is why after Gov. Rick Snyder quietly signed the Right to Work legislation, while angry demonstrators hollered beneath his window, he emerged to tell the media he had signed the Freedom to Work Act.
Even the former accountant, where numbers are more important than words, figured out Right to Work was incendiary. Finding kinder and less explosive terms was sought and found: Freedom and choice.
The R's contend what's so bad about giving workers a choice: Pay union dues or don't. Sounds down right un-American to force any employee to pay anything he or she does not want to pay.
Hence wherever the governor travels these days if the ugly RTW thing comes up, he quickly segues into this freedom to choose stuff and unless a UAW members is standing in front of him, the typical citizens shrugs his or her shoulders and goes,"Well that sounds pretty reasonable."
But apparently the GOP "choice" mantra is not an absolute and the really neat thing about it, the governor's detractors like to point out, is that he and the R's get to pick when to apply it.
Choice for women on abortion is a prime example.
Many R's believe that is wrong.
But that's hardly a new story as the selective choice thing on abortion has been on going for years.
However here's one angle that's new.
Labor is choosing to renegotiate it's current contracts hoping to extend them for years in order to avoid the RTW law which takes effect at the end of March.
"We're doing that right now," confides a private sector labor leader. The thinking is, eventually RTW will be tossed out or if the Democrats take back the reigns of government, it could be repealed. So if labor can just hang on long enough, it can effectively mute the impact of the law.
Now all of a sudden the pro-choice Republicans are not so much.
"Anyone trying to artificially extend a contract right now is simply playing politics and clearly trying to circumvent a state law," protests the mouthpiece for the House GOP leader Rep. Jase Bolger, who himself was accused of playing politics by passing the thing in the first place.
Hold the phone.
The labor unions at Wayne State University that are doing this would contend, they have that right to choose to re-open the contract. It's not an artificial right, it's real. And conversely the WSU governing board, which was chosen by Michigan voters, can choose to participate or not and since the Democrat control the board, guess what? They are talking to the unions.
Oh my. The Republicans don't like that brand of choice. In fact the West Michigan Republican who controls the purse strings for higher ed is not amused.
"We are monitoring this situation closely," warns Rep. Al Pscholka. We ‘hope the governing bodies respect the law and labor freedom." The implied threat, of course, is the R's could take some money away from WSU or any other schools that join in this monkey business.
Ah yes. Choice is a beautiful thing... except when it doesn't serve your political agenda Mr. Pscholka's critics would argue.
WJBK-TV | Fox 2
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