Tag: Right-to-work law

The Right to Work

(I had planned this post for Friday but delayed it for obvious reasons. I don’t expect anyone wants to discuss Right to Work at the moment, but I’ll get it out my queue. A post on Sandy Hook is coming, hopefully tomorrow night.)

I had a few thoughts on the “Right to Work” debate that is raging (literally) in Michigan and other states. While I am generally supportive of what’s going on, I think it needs to be unpacked a bit because it’s not clear that “right to work” is, in and of itself, a good thing.

The argument against RTW is explained by Gary Chartier in a must-read. Essentially, right to work interferes with the right of contract. Right to work doesn’t just open up closed shops; it forbids them.

If employers choose to conclude union-shop contracts with unions, what gives the Indiana legislature the right to interfere?

Employers own the wages they will pay and the sites where work will be performed under such contracts. So it’s their right to dispense the wages and make the sites available specifically to union members, just as it’s their right, more generally, to trade with anyone they choose.

When a legislature interferes with voluntary employment contracts, it infringes people’s freedom to bargain with their own labor and possessions. Treating this kind of interference as acceptable means licensing arbitrary interventions into the market by politicians, who are ill-equipped to second-guess the decisions made by the real people making work agreements with one another.

Ezra Klein makes related points:

The term “right-to-work law” is a triumph of framing. Such laws do not, in fact, give you the “right to work.” They give you the right to refuse to pay union dues when you work for a union shop, even though you get the wages the union bargained for, and the benefits the union bargained for, and the grievance process the union bargained for.

And “union dues” isn’t even the right term here. In Michigan, for instance, you can work in a union shop without joining the union and paying full union dues. The costs of the union’s political activities, its membership events, and more are removed from your dues. You pay a lower fee, because you’re just paying, at least in theory, the cost of the union’s representation activities.

If an employer required an employee to be at work at 9 am, we would think that was reasonable. If an employer required an employee to dress appropriately, we would think that was reasonable. Let’s put aside the dubious proposition that am employer necessarily wants a closed shop. Can that not be part of the agreement they make with a union?

(For the moment, we’re discussing private unions. Public employee unions are an entirely different kettle of newspaper-wrapped fish.)

J. D. Tucille at Reason goes further, pointing out that this is, in essence, a libertarian argument:

The ideal role for the government in business-labor relations is to stay the hell out of it and let the parties work things out themselves. I may prefer one outcome or another, but I don’t have the right to enforce it by law, and that’s what right-to-work legislation does.

This argument sounds reasonable until you account for the context — and Tucille did the next day. I’ll quote Chartier again:

Defenders of right-to-work laws also sometimes point to the background labor-law framework in the United States as a justification for these laws. The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) and its successors established a system that requires an employer to bargain with a union enjoying majority support in a given workplace. Right-to-work proponents argue that the laws they favor only help to level the playing field created by government action—by reining in special privileges granted to unions under existing labor law.

Exactly. The NLRA has given states two choices: either they are a closed-shop union state or they are an open shop right-to-work state. There is no in-between. If you’re in a non-RTW state, you have to close your shop and deal with the union. If you’re in a RTW-state, you still have to deal with the union but you have to maintain an open shop.

Frankly, these “right to contract” arguments sounds a bid odd coming from the pro-union left who have supported card check and kept silent while unions have attempted to forcibly rope unrelated workers into the union. But I’ll bite. Here’s my suggestion. We overhaul the NLRA to give both employers and unions the right to contract as they see fit. If a union demands a closed shop and their employer is willing to give them one, that’s fine. But other choices have to be available.

Funny, how the right to contract suddenly disappears when that’s on the table.

If you needed more proof that unions today are evil

Check out the response of the angry union bosses that lost a vote on a bill that basically did nothing more than give union members the option to choose if they wanted to pay dues to organizations that then used practically all these funds to have the leadership live like aristocracy while lavishing democrats politician’s campaigns with cash, in return for tyrannical power: “We’ll Be At Your Daughter’s Soccer Game!:

LANSING — A speaker at a union protest against right-to-work legislation said if Gov. Rick Snyder signed the bill he would get “no rest” and that protesters would be at his “daughter’s soccer game.” (Video below).

The Rev. Charles Williams II made the comments Tuesday to loud cheers before a group of thousands of union workers. After his promises to harass Gov. Snyder, he introduced Rep. Richard Hammel, D-Mt. Morris Township, and House Minority Leader Tim Greimel, D-Auburn Hills. Williams is a Detroit-area pastor and left-wing activist.

Gov. Snyder later that day signed a bill into law
making Michigan a right-to-work state. One of his daughters is a 16-year-old high school student.

“Just know one thing, Rick Snyder: You sign that bill, you won’t get no rest,” Williams said. “We’ll meet you on Geddes Road. We’ll be at your daughter’s soccer game. We’ll visit you at your church. We’ll be at your office.

This shit is Machiavellian in the evil it represents. Please spare me the bullshit about how unions care about the workers. All the right –to-work legislation did was make union dues optional. Basically the union bosses and their shills on the left are right now blatantly telling the horrendously callous lie that the bill prevents people from unionizing to capitalize on fear and anger from misinformed fools.

The big thing that the unions and their democrat buddies are fighting isn’t the ability for people’s to unionize, that has not been affected in any way by this legislation, but the loss of their ability to collect union dues through the use of government sanctioned force. What they object to is that union members now have a choice to pay dues, and that they will have to earn the dues. Gone are the easy days of living like kings, with high five and often six figure salaries for the connected, funneling most of the dues they collected to democrat war coffers, with the understanding that that allegiance will buy them legal protection and power to keep doing whatever they wanted, and their strangling grip on everyone’s throat. And they are furious about it. So hence the mafia tactics.

Scumbags I tell you. I am sure they will smile, wink and tell you that what they mean is they will be there “protesting”, but only a fool will believe this was not an attempt at intimidation by making a veiled threat of physical violence. Don Corleone would be proud. These people make it easy for those of us that now believe that unions are causing more harm than they ever did good to make that case.