For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. This law of physics may apply to Michigan’s economy, as two recent events remind us that our rigid labor laws must change so Michigan workers can get and keep the best jobs.

The merger and expansion of automakers Chrysler and Daimler-Benz is a promising development for Michigan. But the General Motors-UAW labor dispute sends the wrong message to companies searching for the best location to build new plants.

Michigan’s chances of attracting these new facilities and jobs are hampered by its policy of compulsory unionism. Twenty-one other states instead enjoy right to work laws, which prohibit employers and unions from forcing workers to join a labor organization to keep their jobs.

Job providers prefer right to work states. In just 16 years, these states have added over 490,000 manufacturing jobs while non right to work states have lost over one million jobs.

For Michigan to compete effectively for good-paying new jobs, it must end compulsory unionism and restore workers’ freedom of association. Expanding companies like Daimler-Chrysler need to know that the Great Lakes State is open for business.

For the Mackinac Center, this is Joseph Lehman.