Home > Uncategorized > More On ‘Right To Work’ Laws

More On ‘Right To Work’ Laws

In my previous post I used certain wording to simply things but I left out the particulars and I think I should clear that up a bit. Employees are not always required to join a union to hold a job, it does happen that way, but not everywhere and not all the time. What the new Michigan law does is bar nonmembers from being forced to pay dues to the union in exchange for services they don’t get to decline. Employers often use the contract negotiated with a union when it comes to their nonunion employees, ‘fair share’ laws require such employees to pay prorated dues to cover bargaining and advocacy expenses.

You might be thinking that it doesn’t seem so unreasonable that non-union members should pay dues to the union to cover services that they are provided or benefit from.

I have two good examples of why it isn’t:

1. Go rake someones lawn. Now go knock on their door and demand payment. When they bring up the fact that they didn’t ask for your services, tell them it doesn’t matter, because they received them.

2. If you have a neighbor who sells their house, inform them they owe you part of the proceeds since you keep your house in good repair, which increased the value of their home.

This goes both ways though, unions should not be compelled by law to provide services to nonmembers without compensation. If an employer chooses to apply the union negotiated contract to nonunion members, the law should not require those nonmembers to have a say in the negotiations. Neither should the law require unions to advocate on the behalf of a nonmember when it comes to a breech of contract.

In most cases what it comes down to is that if employees don’t have a choice whether or not to use union services, they shouldn’t be made to pay any dues. Unions are making the claim that such employees are freeloading, and that isn’t entirely untrue. However, I don’t think it should be called freeloading. It doesn’t cost unions or their members anything if the contract they have is offered to others, it does cost employers to negotiate with each individual nonmember, so in that case, which is the most common one, the union loses nothing (they might actually gain, see the * below)), nonmember employees don’t have the ability to negotiate independently for what they want (but don’t pay dues), and the employer saves money.

It doesn’t matter who employer it is, the taxpayers save with public jobs, business owners save with private ones. When that happens there is more money left on the table for unions to negotiate for*, more money left to spend on other programs and more money for owners and employees alike to take home in pay, even consumers might be graced by the practice in the form of lower prices for goods and services.

It is incredibly dishonest to claim that right to work laws are workers right violations though. Laws mandating uncompensated services and laws requiring payment for services not requested, those are violations of workers rights.

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