-27 votes

Rand Paul would have you "sign the Right to Work petition that Obama fears". But before you "click here" to sign it, read this!

Like the minimum wage, right-to-work battles have flared repeatedly for more than a half-century after workers toiling in onerous circumstances -- not unlike what some in Asian factories face today -- won the right to unite and bargain for wages and workplace conditions. But the nation never completely embraced a uniform view of worker rights.
In a peculiarly American way of adopting names that can be contrary to what they can mean, proponents called their effort "right to work." At first glance, this seems to be a declaration that there is a right to have a job.
This country has a different definition of this phrase than everyone else in the world. The phrase is deliberately meant to confuse. A Texas newspaper columnist started calling it that decades ago, and it was picked up to mean working without having to be a member of a union.
Almost half of all states already have such laws, with a concentration in in the Sun Belt, a region that has a less than friendly history with unions. It's been more than a decade since the last state adopted such a law (Oklahama, in 2001), but the unexpected success of curbing collective bargaining rights in Wisconsin has fueled voices to give corporations a freer hand in the workplace, which ultimately will only deliver low-wage and low-skill jobs.

Update: Let's be clear about what is going on here.

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.

And there’s no principled way to draw a sharp line here: Once it’s okay for a legislature to interfere with bargaining in this way, there’s no stopping politicians from setting wages and prices, or requiring or prohibiting the hiring of particular people.

Supporting a free society means embracing people’s freedom to form unions. And it means acknowledging that unions—and union-shop agreements—can offer both workers and employers something valuable.

http://www.thefreemanonline.org/features/whats-wrong-with-ri...

Too few Americans know labor history and how they have benefited from the efforts of unions. We have a 40-hour work week, defined benefits, higher wages, paid vacations and sick leave, largely as the result of union activity in the 20th century. We built a middle-class society in the period after World War II, also a period when the work force was, compared with today, heavily unionized. But workers toiling in the circumstances that were prevalent before the implementation of unions had no choices. If we willingly revert to the onerous workplace conditions of the past through "right to work" legislation, all workers will lose the ground that has been gained since then.

Since the implementation of Citizens United, largely backed by the Koch brothers, corporations have gained personhood and the ability to vote on new legislation for their own benefit and on their own behalf, through ALEC and other means. If unions can be broken in the public sector, as the "right to work" law actually promotes, this will further tilt the political playing field on behalf of corporate interests and their [Neocon] Republican allies, like the Koch brothers. This will also silence one of the few remaining vehicles that advocate on behalf of ordinary people in this country.

I don't live in a right to work state, although I do know of employers in my state who have mandatory union membership. I can simply choose not to work for them. And I don't need new legislation in my state to be able to make that choice.




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Looks like they've taken Rand's

Right to Work petition down. Glad to see it.

"I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this any more!"
- Howard Beale

If I am qualified for a job,

If I am qualified for a job, and the employer decides I am the right fit for them, then NO ONE has the right to force me to do anything else to get that job.

Personally...I want to succeed based on my OWN skills. Not because someone that forcibly takes money from me every paycheck bullies my employer.

I don't know ANY professional that wants to be in a union. No one that thinks of themselves as a hard worker who is useful to a company. They all want to be paid based on THEIR contributions. Becuase they know that they will do much better than if they have to be paid based on how the group as a whole does it.

People who go to college don't want to be part of unions. I know SEVERAL teachers who absolutely HATE that they have to join a union. Becuase they are fairly new teachers and have no seniority. So whenever there is layoffs, they are the first to go evn though they are consistently ranked highest over the old regime who refused to embrace technology, still trying to get through to kids with a Ben Stein from Ferris Bueller style of monotonous teaching.

So these BETTER employees are forced to PAY to be laid off.

So yeah...where do I sign this Right to Work petition. I am all for it, like any sensible human being.

And I hate to break it to you Maddy, but unions...like smoking...will NEVER come back into favor. Just as there will never be laws passed to give smokers a break, there will never be a public perception turn in the POSITIVE direction for unions anymore. May as well accept it now.

I think it's replies like these that confuse the author.

It sounds like you're attacking any and all unions which throws this Maddy person into overdrive. I think it's fair to make clear that libertarians hate and despise the current form of unions, just like how despise current forms of big business, banks, and insurance companies. This is because they are currently so closely intertwined with government.

However once government is shrunken severely and they get their hand out of the free market; big business ,banks ,unions, and yes, even insurance companies won't tick us of anymore, because they will be governed by the free market without government's hand in them.

It is an enormous simplification to speak of the American mind. Every American has his own mind.

~Ludwig von Mises

I'm not confused.

Union membership is between the employee and employer, government should have no role. Rand Paul's right-to-work legislation would give government a role, which is why I oppose it.

"I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this any more!"
- Howard Beale

NO IT DOESN'T

It bans government from making union membership mandatory.

Edit: But instead of disagreeing what's in a piece of legislation, at least we agree that government has no place in union membership, whether it is ban of force it.

It is an enormous simplification to speak of the American mind. Every American has his own mind.

~Ludwig von Mises

I don't need to make an argument

because so many good ones have been made already. But it is plain to anyone with a brain that unions are against an individuals right to work. When you HAVE TO pay some group just to work it is extortion and flies in the face of individual rights. Also their should be no such thing as a union in a government job anyway. Why in the hell should these leaches be able to bargain with my tax dollars?

Not all unions.

Unions that use voluntary negotiation, "such as we all quit unless you give us a 10% pay raise" are perfectly fine. But because most (or all) unions are in cahoots with the government, and force companies to do certain things; your argument is perfectly valid.

It is an enormous simplification to speak of the American mind. Every American has his own mind.

~Ludwig von Mises

If that is truly all they do,

If that is truly all they do, then that would be fine. But show me just ONE union that really only says "we will quit if you don't give us a raise" and nothing else.

And by nothing else, I mean nothing else. Not threaten anybody who is brought in to replace them when the company calls their bluff and allows them to quit.

The problem is, unions are generally for workers who are EASILY replaceable. People who have jobs that require nothing more than a 2 day training session to learn what to do. So they CAN'T be so passive with their bluffs because they know that they will be replaced easily.

People with actual marketable job skills don't take union jobs.

I think you are referring to collective bargaining rights.

Even Ron Paul supports collective bargaining rights provided that there is no coercion or compulsion to participate, such as mandatory membership in a union or mandatory union dues.

Easy to follow Video

on Collective Bargaining from the Heritage Foundation.

http://youtu.be/QyxuUjgHkgs

Downvote :D

Downvote :D

Also

I think I found out where you're confused. The law will only stop government from forcing you to join a union; it won't stop a company from making unions a requirement for employment as this is not aggression. It is a step forward to employers,employees,and unions voluntarily negotiating with each other with no aggression involved. And by aggression I mean guns pointed at heads, not "(don't) join a union or you're fired" or " I'm joining a union or I quit" that is negotiating.

It is an enormous simplification to speak of the American mind. Every American has his own mind.

~Ludwig von Mises

Companies don't make joining

Companies don't make joining a union a requirement for employment. The bullying unions do.

I'm just making it clear that theoretically companies can do so

Not necessarily saying they will.

It is an enormous simplification to speak of the American mind. Every American has his own mind.

~Ludwig von Mises

Sure - there are some

Sure - there are some instances in which they might. For example, say union XYZ has a particular skill in a particularly large work force that is very difficult to find in the market.

The members of this union have agreed that they will negotiate through the union, and generally reject offers for their services outside the union.

So a company approaches the union, which requires 25% premium over regular market rates for this particular field of work, because of the particular skill and the particular numbers of people having that skill which the union can provide. But the company can't quite afford 15% over market rates. So they promise to hire none but union workers for say, ten years, and pay a 15% premium over the market rate, instead of 25%.

This is one simple illustration of how a voluntary union can operate effectively without government coercion and special class of personhood under federal law. The union simply leverages the inherent benefits that they have in the market: they leverage the skill of their workers and the reputation of that skill, to demand higher wages; they also leverage their capability in delivering a large work force having a minimum skill.

They union also, for instance, might have trade secrets that make them particularly desirable in the market(like Coca Cola Bottling Co. has for their Coke recipe) that they maintain within the union. Now trade secrets go a bit outside the libertarian discussion because they generally rely on Intellectual Property laws - but lets either set that aside for now, or instead say that the trade secrets are maintained entirely via contract with union members (which can exist without any reliance on state law).

In this way, unions can form powerful work forces that command a higher piece of an organization's profits. This is all perfectly within free market theory, and most importantly is entirely within the bounds of positive-sum-gain theory (which generally posits that voluntary transactions make every party wealthier in the end; no one 'loses' so someone else can 'win'). Positive sum gains are what make wealth production ubiquitous (shared by every member) in a free market - unlike the crony capitalist system that utilizes currency counterfeiting, selective regulation, taxpayer subsidies, bailouts, and so on, to destroy some people and ensure the enrichment of others.

In a free market, productive profits are shared between three basic groups of individuals: laborers, strategic organizers / managers, and investors. The leverage of respective groups (what they bring to the table in terms of productive output) generally establishes what portion of the profits go to a particular group. A successful union can increase the leverage of the individual worker and give each member a larger share of the productive profits vis-a-vis the laborer / manager / investor trio. This is all good stuff and again, squarely within the positive sum gain dynamic, so long as it is all voluntary.

I've digressed a bit - but I thought the power of a true voluntary union, properly managed, is worth pointing out. And how a voluntary union is NOT the 'win for the worker' and 'loss for management' paradigm that is so often spouted on television; that it instead falls squarely within the positive sum gain dynamic that ensures an increase in value (or wealth) for all parties in a profit-generating productive enterprise.

Again...

I don't live in a right to work state, although I do know of employers in my state who have mandatory union membership. I can simply choose not to work for them. And I don't need new legislation in my state to be able to make that choice.

"I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this any more!"
- Howard Beale

You don't understand

If employers through their own free will decide to make union membership a requirement for employment, that is fine, it is not aggression, an act of force, and rightly so the law doesn't interfere with that. The law only stops government from forcing employers to make union membership a requirement, which is a completely free market position. Unions and employers can negotiate if they want to, they just won't be forced to by government.

The ideal government that we should strive for is one that's sole duty is to protect against aggression, that is libertarianism is all about. Government making union membership a requirement is not right, as this is an act of force, and thus creates a contradiction. Union membership is between the employee and employer, government has no role.

It is an enormous simplification to speak of the American mind. Every American has his own mind.

~Ludwig von Mises

I understand

that the true libertarian approach would be to reverse the unions being made a special class under federal law, instead of growing government even more with new legislation to prohibit union agreements.
Also, according to Wikipedia, "right-to-work" law is a statute that prohibits union security agreements, or agreements between labor unions and employers that govern the extent to which an ESTABLISHED UNION (not the GOVERNMENT, as you suggest) can require employees' membership, payment of union dues, or fees as a condition of employment, either before or after hiring.

"I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this any more!"
- Howard Beale

You HONESTLY say that you

You HONESTLY say that you think it is OK for a union (or ANYONE) to tell an otherwise qualified employee that they must pay them money in order to have a job?

You are actually coming out and saying that extortion is OK?

Union membership should be OPTIONAL.

People who know they are actually valuable to an employee INDIVIDUALLY should not be forced to PAY to be brought down to the level of useless unskilled workers in the union.

I'm saying what you're saying...

"Union membership is between the employee and employer, government has no role."

I'm only adding that the Rand Paul's right-to-work legislation would give government a role, which is why I oppose it.

Capiche?

"I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this any more!"
- Howard Beale

Still don't understand

"the extent to which an ESTABLISHED UNION (not the GOVERNMENT, as you suggest) can require employees' membership, payment of union dues, or fees as a condition of employment, either before or after hiring."

Keyword here is "require", that essentially means force; in a free society unions wouldn't be able to force membership, that would be between the employee and employer. They only do so because government makes it legal, this law basically repeals that.

It is an enormous simplification to speak of the American mind. Every American has his own mind.

~Ludwig von Mises

I understand that you are avoiding the question

about the reversal of unions being made a special class under federal law being a more libertarian approach, instead of growing government even more with new legislation to prohibit union agreements. In my humble opinion, Rand would do well to take the more libertarian approach.

"I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this any more!"
- Howard Beale

Prohibit union agreements?

This law does no such thing; it stops unions from forcing the company to make union membership mandatory. Of course the union can still bargain; and they company can still make union membership a condition of employment if they want to.

It is an enormous simplification to speak of the American mind. Every American has his own mind.

~Ludwig von Mises

Either you're a socialist, or a bit confused.

The right to work petition prevents unions from forcing people to join them; which is a very libertarian/Ron Paul/Daily Paul/liberty position. Now don't get me wrong, unions are fine as long as they don't initiate force against others; it's okay to bargain, but not to force a deal.

It is an enormous simplification to speak of the American mind. Every American has his own mind.

~Ludwig von Mises

It is not a libertarian/Ron Paul/Daily Paul/liberty position

to grow government by enacting new "right to work" legislation. Your recital is a credit to the network of media outlets currently pumping out the brainwashing mantras of the Koch brothers and their ilk. However, the truth that you won't hear in their echo chamber is that right to work legislation will ultimately reverse the hard won right to unite and bargain for wages and workplace conditions.

"I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this any more!"
- Howard Beale

The law is not interfering with the ability to bargain

You can still bargain. But government telling a company and their employees can't work until they form a union, is not bargaining at all.

P.S. There is no right to bargain. There is only the universal right to do whatever one wishes, as long as they don't initiate force against others.

It is an enormous simplification to speak of the American mind. Every American has his own mind.

~Ludwig von Mises

So, Maddy, are you suggesting that

workers shouldn't have the right to choose to be in a union or not?

NO

I'm simply saying that I oppose Rand Paul's Petition to grow government. He should lobby instead to reverse the laws that have given the unions an inordinate amount of power. But I maintain that the unions have an important role in protecting the worker against mega corporations with personhood that have the ability to legislate new laws on their own behalf, through ALEC and Citizens United, etc.

"I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this any more!"
- Howard Beale

That's all the right-to-work laws do.

They keep the unions from gaining an inordinate amount of power. A national right-to-work law would make it so that any worker anywhere in America can work in any state and wouldn't have to be a part of a union unless he wanted to. Why would you oppose that?

This is a good discussion. If

This is a good discussion.

If all laws favoring or limiting unions were repealed, wouldn't the scenario you are describing where any worker can work in any state without being a part of a union just come to be naturally? How can a union force an employer or employee to deal with them without the force of government on its side?