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Note to Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder: If It Ain't Broke, Don't Fix It

Stocks in this article: BA F GM TM

The United Auto Workers union bears some -- not all -- of the responsibility for the decline of GM and the industry that led to the 2008 collapse. But the union also gets some of the credit for the industry's resurgence since then. It showed that unions and companies can work together to salvage their joint future.

Last year in Wisconsin, Gov. Scott Walker eliminated many public workers' union rights, basically giving up on any meaningful projects for the state in order to fight a war with half of his constituents. Evidently he inspired Snyder. Of course Walker, unlike Snyder, could say he was pursuing the goal of reducing state spending. This goal is widely shared. Snyder's goal seems more along the lines of helping the national Republican party to undermine a source of Democratic support. That goal is shared only by other Republicans.

The strange thing is that many companies and governments have realized that the best way to deal with unions is to negotiate with them, not pass laws to attempt to destroy them. This is what Boeing (BA) did in 2011. While South Carolina politicians were trying to dismantle labor laws that have existed since 1935, thinking that was how they could protect Boeing's Charleston 787 plant, Boeing sat down for serious negotiations with the International Association of Machinists and signed a deal in six weeks. Then everybody shook hands.

"We were approached with a deal you couldn't really turn down," Mark Blondin, aerospace coordinator for the International Association of Machinists, said at the time.

By the way, whenever Boeing competes with Airbus for contracts, the IAM is among its most effective allies .

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