Free the Shareholders!

The State of Michigan subject to a Republican stranglehold on the state government recently enacted a law which prevents a Union from requiring that workers benefiting from a Union contract contribute dues to support that Union. This is defended as a “freedom”, workers will be free from being forced to support Unions. In particular, the argument holds that this frees workers from having to support candidates for public office with whom they may disagree.

Supposedly the act of the Michigan Legislature and Governor are in advancement of freedom.

I own stock. The corporations in which I hold stock can by decision of the Supreme Court contribute to political candidates without my consent. The money being contributed to candidates chosen by the CEO or Board is money that could have been distributed to shareholders as profits. I want my money. Based on what the Republicans say they want me to be free, will they now adopt legislation prohibiting Corporations from using Shareholder money? Or allowing shareholders to opt out?

No, they won’t because this is not about Freedom. It is about power. The Republicans adopted this law to reduce the money available to pro-labor political candidates. Corporations give money to Republican candidates, even the money that should be distributed to shareholding Democrats is given to Corporate-designated Republicans.

I called my State Legislator, a Republican, and asked her to protect Shareholder freedom and stop Corporations from using shareholder profits for activities which shareholders disapprove. She said that if I had a problem with the Corporations in which I invest, I should take it up at a Shareholders Meeting, that it isn’t the State’s business to get involved in the private affairs of Corporations. Then why can the State get involved in the private affairs of Unions?

States should extend the same “freedoms” they have given workers to shareholders or they should refrain from intervention. One or the other is fair, one and not the other is simply a power grab.


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