Divisiveness: M.L. Elrick Calls Free Press Columnist Tom Walsh a Union 'Free Rider'
December 11th, 2012, 11:27 PM
Before he became a right-to-work devotee -- like last week -- Gov. Rick Snyder once feared a law that liberates workers, as its backers claim, would be divisive. He was right.
Take Fox2's M.L. Elrick, a former Free Press reporter who shared the Pulitzer Prize for his reporting on the Kwame Kilpatrick text messaging scandal.
In a posting on his Facebook page, Elrick, a union leader during his years at the Free Press, takes a shot at his former colleague, Tom Walsh, a business columnist, who writes in the Free Press that people are making too much of a fuss over the right-to-work legislation.
The context: Both newspapers were closed shops for decades until the 1995 strike. After the strike, both became open shops, like all unionized workshops will eventually become in Michigan, except those of police and fire departments. While the majority of journalists at the Free Press and News joined the union, those who refuse to sign up and pay dues are treated as if they belong to the union.
Tom, there are a couple things here you either left out or got wrong.
"First, you didn't disclose that you are a free rider at the Free Press -- someone who has consistently declined to join the Newspaper Guild while enjoying the benefits your dues-paying colleagues have worked so hard to preserve.
Second, you question the value of union membership."
"As you well know, the Guild has saved jobs at the Free Press while helping the company save money."
Walsh writes in his column:
Right-to-work is the wrong issue to be frothing about.
"In today’s world of unprecedented mobility and instant communication, investment and jobs go to places with the top talent, the best educated and most skilled workers."
Then Walsh adds:
"We’re huffing and puffing about inconclusive data on whether right-to-work even matters, economically, and about whether workers should be compelled to pay dues to organizations that have a spotty record of late in securing or protecting jobs and better wages."
Elrick also takes exception to Walsh's explanation for the the right-to-work push. He writes:
"Finally, you say this last-minute right to work legislation is a response to Prop 2. Why would lawmakers need to respond to something that failed? It would seem a proposal that was handily defeated would be one of the least threatening things imaginable!"