Right To Work Laws Empower Employees

In Liberal World, having the choice to abort a baby is a good thing. Having the choice to pay union dues? That’s tantamount to heresy and the End Of Life As We Know It. James Sherk explains that liberals should take a deep breath

(US News And World Report) Right-to-work laws benefit both nonunion and union workers as well as the unemployed. Without right-to-work, unions negotiate contracts requiring employers to fire workers who don’t pay union dues. Employees must pay the union $500 to $1,000 a year or lose their job.

Workers have the right to unionize if they choose. But if workers don’t support a union, the law shouldn’t force them to pay dues.

Right-to-work puts employees in the driver’s seat: They pay only if they see value from the union’s services. This accountability prevents unions from presuming workers’ support. In the long run, right-to-work makes them more effective representatives.

And if they see no value in the union, they shouldn’t be forced to pay dues. The stated purpose of unions is to protect workers and represent them. But, unions, especially public sector unions, seem to spend most of their time strong arming companies and especially the government, wringing massive, unfordable concessions, and lobbying for more Democrats to be elected in order to get even more concessions out of government, all while spending tons of union dues on supporting Democrats. This is an incestuous relationship, which would be termed a conflict of interest out in the private sector. And the taxpayers are the ones on the hook.

Do unions serve a purpose? Yes, when they are dealing with their proper mission, which is protecting the workers. As someone who previously worked for a big, big company in which a union was present, said union was mostly helpful. It didn’t necessarily protect the worker from the company, but from crummy bosses. I could mention a few times where bargained employees were able to use the union to protect themselves, as they were not comfortable going to HR, as they knew damned well that they would be subject to very subtle retaliation. In fact, one of the cases revolved around a worker at another store using the union after first going to HR, because there was subtle retaliation from a higher ranking company official. Hell, as a non-bargained employee (management) I would have liked the same protection at times. I even called the union rep one time to ask them to have a talk with an employee who was getting close to termination for attendance issues but was tuning me out. Didn’t listen to the rep, either.

Unions have a place when they are realistic. Unfortunately, they also go way, way too far. Especially with public sector negotiations. However

Unions respond by arguing that right-to-work allows nonunion employees to “freeload.” They argue the law shouldn’t force them to represent employees who don’t pay dues. It’s a powerful argument, but rests on a false premise.

The National Labor Relations Act permits–but doesn’t mandate–unions to represent every worker at a company. If unions do so, the law requires them to represent nonunion employees fairly. However, as Justice William Brennan wrote a half-century ago, “‘Members only’ contracts have long been recognized” by the Supreme Court. Unions voluntarily represent nonunion workers. That hardly justifies forcing them to pay dues.

First off, they make the choice to represent only bargained employees. As management level, I couldn’t have gone to them (bummer). But, they can choose to not represent those who do not pay dues. And, in my opinion, if someone chooses to not pay dues, then the union should not represent them. Perhaps they could come up with a “pay for play” scheme for those who do not pay dues. Either way, no pay, no representation. Perhaps this would also give employees the power to negotiate for their own pay, and receive raises according to their own work, rather than a pay scale. There were numerous times when I was giving the same pay raise to a person rated as a 1 as a worker rated a 5 (on a scale of 0-5). Prior to the union, the former would have gotten a 1% raise, the latter a 5% raise.

Either way, the big issue is the public sector workers, which put the US taxpayer on the hook for unsustainable and out of control pay and benefits.

Crossed at Pirate’s Cove. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach.

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