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Flying pigs, right-to-work and Pure Michigan

David Barkholz is a reporter for Automotive News.

A seasoned Detroit labor lawyer said he had lived long enough to see a pig fly when Michigan passed right-to-work legislation last month in this UAW stronghold.

Well, he might want to pack his bags, because Michigan is advertising flights on that pig.

The state, as part of its award-winning Pure Michigan tourism campaign, bought a full-page ad in The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday touting Michigan as the nation's newest right-to-work state. It's titled "What happens when Michigan makes history."

Under right-to-work, employees cannot be required to join a union or pay union dues.

"This once-in-a-generation transformation has Michigan poised to become a preferred place to do business," the Journal ad states.

To close: "The perfect storm of opportunity, resources and passion is Pure Michigan."

As a little background, the Pure Michigan advertising campaign has been very good. With comic Tim Allen (Home Improvement, Toy Story) doing the voice-over and soft piano in the background, the ads call us back to carefree times golfing and remind us of the 800 pristine courses in Michigan, "any one of which will break your heart as you step up to the first tee at dawn." Another ad coaxes us to turn over the “Gone fishin’” sign and enjoy Michigan’s lakes, rivers and coastlines.

I can't wait until Michigan comes out with its first Pure Michigan radio ad on right-to-work. I can just hear the narrator delivering the punch line now:

"I walked up to my assembly-line station before the day's first light. There I gently cradled my rivet gun as the first chassis of the shift rolled down the line. And I knew freedom then. The right to work for myself unencumbered by dues. Pure Michigan."

Okay, now. Where's that flight schedule?

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