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.

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3 Comments

Comment by Trish Subscribed to comments via email
2012-12-14 09:00:27

When it comes to public sector unions there can be no question about where they are allowed to spend their dues. Absolutely NO CAMPAIGN contributions should EVER come from public sector union. NONE. What a HUGE conflict of interest is it that a union can back the very same politicians and party who will later be across the negotiating table with them, for their contracts?
Union dues used to back a politician, almost exclusively Democrats, are unfair- I thought dems liked fairness and justice? How is it fair to assume that every union member wants to spend THEIR union dues on a candidate? What if the member would rather spend it on the opponent? Think that would ever be a choice they would have? No. Unions will always be unequally pro-demorat. That makes them an honorary arm of the Demorat party, and therefore we are talking inappropriate relationships under the constitution.

 
Comment by Kevin
2012-12-14 12:19:50

If unions are so great why isn’t every job position able to unionize? I’d love to just once be able to tell someone “I can’t work on that version of Windows” or “As a union member I can’t work on non-union made laptops”.

 
Comment by Trish Subscribed to comments via email
2012-12-14 12:29:53

Hahaha, true.
My husband worked for a non-union refinery for 33 years. In the beginning, the vote to unionize would come up every two years and it would be voted down. In the last couple of attempts th eunions became insistent, they bullied and they cajoled and they inundated each employee with tons of literature- bith at work and at home. Management sent out about two letters explaining the benefit of NOT unionizing. Lo and behold, they finally voted the union in and it was all downhill after.
Trust me when I tell you that they already had fair wages, mighty fine bennies, plenty of vacation and a good work environment. But when the unions won, they then also had to cope with workers who no longer tried to keep their jobs, in other words, slackers. Guys who were unsafe to work around, especially in a refinery. They had guys who couldn’t get fired for almost any offense. The union lovers had pure hatred for management and stirred up trouble every chance they got. It became a hostile place to work for the average joe who just wanted to go about his business and head on home.
Yes, today’s unions are a blight on society.

 

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