Michigan workers now have the right to join a labor union or not at their own discretion, and the rent-seeking union barons aren't happy.

As thousands of angry union members shouted their opposition outside the state Capitol in Lansing, the Republican-controlled legislature completed work on two measures to ban unions from requiring workers to pay membership dues. Gov. Rick Snyder (R) then signed them into law Tuesday evening.

The "right to work" effort illustrates the power of Republicans to use state legislative majorities won in 2010 to pursue their policy preferences, even after losing a bitter presidential election.

The defeat is devastating for organized labor, which for decades has been waging an uphill battle against declining membership and dwindling influence.

But it also strikes at the roots of a Democratic Party that relied on unions for financial support and to marshal voters for President Obama's reelection.

Right-to-work laws are a clear enhancement to liberty: workers can choose to join or not. Democrats are angry because unions are used to forcefully extract money from workers which is then funneled to Democrat campaigns. President Obama understands the stakes.

"You know, these so-called right-to-work laws, they don't have to do with economics. They have everything to do with politics," Obama said.

If your political power depends on limiting others' freedom then maybe you're on the wrong side. No one should be forced to join a union against their will.

Unfortunately it appears that the Republicans don't think Missouri can follow suit despite their supermajorities in both chambers of the legislature.

Missouri House Republican Speaker Tim Jones, of Eureka, says passing a similar law would require strong leadership from the governor and the support of the business community. Republican Senate leader Tom Dempsey, of St. Charles, says numerous senators support a right-to-work law but not enough to overcome a veto.

Republicans have supermajorities in both chambers. Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon previously has called the idea a backward step.

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