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Unions: Right to Work Debate

Ok, I wanted to post this debate to get the perspective of the DP community in a discussion I'm having on Facebook regarding Unions. Someone I went to highschool with happens to be the communications director for the MN AFL-CIO. He often posts political articles and commentary on Facebook. I do my best to bite my tounge, but every now and then get sucked into a FB debate.

Here is his original post:

"Sorry Wisconsin Friends" (Posts link to following article): http://www.postbulletin.com/opinion/our-view-minnesota-is-wi...

Here are the comments since:

(One of his friends):
Are you saying that gutting union rights and restricting women's health care isn't making jobs for WI? Unpossible!

Unions have rights, or individuals? #righttowork

(Union Guy):
No law says you have to join a union. If you are in a job covered by a collective bargaining agreement, you can be "fair share" and only pay the costs associated with representation. Since unions are legally required to represent everyone covered by the contract, "Right to Work" laws allow people to freeload. Another easy way someone can avoid joining a union is to simply work at a job not covered by a union contract.

No person should be compelled, as a condition of employment, to join or not to join, nor pay dues to a labor union.

Unions take away the right of individuals to negotiate for themselves. You only mention the "free riders" who may benefit from collective bargaining. How about the top 10% of workers who are held back from individual negotiation, who would likely have even better packages than the collective agreement chosen for them?

Unions are meant to be voluntary. Member only bargaining, member only "benefits," member only dues., with others allowed to work for the employer independent of the union.

(His same friend):
I am in a union and you do not have to join it to be employed as an engineer/tech at my company. You can also be a conscientious objector and not pay the union dues if you so choose. Such a forced employment situation.

When I first hired in at Boeing I was VERY wary of the union thing. Having gone to school in Michigan, I had 4 years of people bitching about the UAW and had a very skewed perspective of them. However, having been with Boeing now for over 8 years and seeing what the union has done for us compared to what has been stripped away from employees in non-unionized states, it has made me appreciate it a lot more.

(Union Guy):
Unions are 100% voluntary. It takes a majority of workers to form one and a majority of workers to de-certify one. If there is a union at a workplace, it is because a majority have voted to do so. Union contracts are agreed upon by employers and management, including what positions are covered by a collective bargaining agreement. A union contract doesn't "hold anyone back." Here's an example from my workplace. I am in a union the union contract guarantees that I will be paid no less than a specified amount each year and what my benefits are. There is nothing in the contract that prohibits my employer from paying more than that amount or providing anything else that goes above and beyond the contract. If I don't want union representation, I have the freedom to seek employment somewhere that doesn't have it.

100% forced to pay union dues. 100% relinquishment of individual bargaining rights. 100% monopoly, one union gets bargaining rights... no competition amongst multiple unions. The individual has no power, and is subject to the will of the majority. That is the opposite of freedom.

(Union Guy):
You know you're now arguing against democracy, right?

I'm arguing that right to work should be a constitutionally protected right. First amendment guarantees the right of freedom of association and implies a freedom of non-association as well. The fifth amendment also guarantees private ownership of property and the principle of free enterprise. Individuals should be able to join or not join unions and employers should have a substantial say in the way their business, or property, operates.

I am all for voluntary unions. Why are unions so worried about empowering the individual?

(Union Guy):
Pretty simple, here, Collective bargaining agreements are signed by management and employees. They are legally binding agreements that require the union to represent workers in specific positions. The law requires a union to serve all employees covered by the agreement. A union security clause (something that also has to be agreed to by management) provides for membership and "fair share" dues. There is no law that requires an employer to sign a collective bargaining agreement or agree to a union security clause. There is no law forcing someone to work for an employer that has a collective bargaining agreement. Under your logic, I should be able to go to a gym without paying membership fees because I have the "right to work out." That's essentially what happens in a "Right to Work" state, the unions are forced to represent freeloaders because the government has outlawed union security clauses from private contracts. The Supreme Court has ruled multiple times that unions are legally obligated to provide representation to all workers covered by a collective bargaining agreement, whether or not they pay dues.

The analogy doesn't work. Gym membership dues are paid to the gym owner, not to the gym members. #righttowork amendment will nullify SC rulings & fix the gaps in past legislation.

(Union Guy):
Umm. You are familiar with the Taft-Hartley Act, aren't you? Or are you proposing a national constitutional amendment that will never happen?

National ammendment would be nice, but unneccessary, as states can do it themselves (24 & counting). I am pro-Union... so long as individual liberty isn't infringed upon by the will of a majority. How can the "majority" lose power if they have no competition, force membership, spend membership money keeping itself alive, and labeling all dissenters as "freeloaders." Unions are afraid of empowering individuals, ironic.


(Union guy):
If you look at those 24 RTW states, Minnesota outranks them in nearly every economic indicator. Also, SC rulings supersede any state amendment and the duty of fair representation remains. States cannot nullify federal laws and rulings. It's unfair for someone to get the benefits of a collective bargaining agreement without at least paying the cost of representation (again, membership is not forced, free bargaining states allow unions to collected significantly reduced "fair share" dues from non-members to cover representation costs). Do you like the idea of the government telling an employer and union that they are not allowed to include a union security clause in a private contract even if they mutually agree on it?

Here's a FAQ I did during our successful effort to kill a RTW amendment last year that clears this up. https://www.dropbox.com/s/irwwnzqp61t6gcw/RTWFAQ.pdf


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It is a voluntary decision by the COMPANY.

As the president/ceo of a company, I have chosen to not allow unions to be created in the company. I simply achieve this by firing those that wish to create a union. I also only hire people that merit the pay they are receiving, thus if they go anywhere else they would get paid less. I do not hold onto poor achieving workers that would be able to utilize a union to achieve higher salaries and benefits. There is absolutely no benefit for me to have a unionized work force.

If one day I was received at the office with half the work force demanding a pay raise, then I will give them two choices...each can speak to me on an individual basis and each will get a pay raise based off of their merits, or they can quit and I will hire new people. If I must close the business down for several weeks, I will do just that.

I will never allow for a union because then I will eventually shut the business down because I will be less competitive. I will be paying higher wages to less qualified workers than my non unionized competitors. I will then have failed at my job and will have no jobs to offer to anyone.

I agree with what you are

I agree with what you are saying in general...but the fact is a lot of employers do not value their employees and will abuse that relationship any way they can. There is a reason for the existence of unions to begin with. Where do you think the 40-hour work week came from? Its because employers would work their employees 80 hours a week while paying only straight time. If the employee wouldnt work the expected hours they were fired. I have no problem working 80 hours a week...but I want extra compensation for the extra time out of my life. Do I consider that unfair? Hell no. The fact is that in a world where employers treated their employers right unions wouldnt be needed...but look at say McDonalds...minimum wage when the business could easily afford to double their pay with very little price difference in the end product. I would pay 20 cents more for a big mac if it meant doubling those workers salaries. I know I couldnt live on minimum wage. You need to realize that every hour someone works for you is an hour of their lives they will never get back.

I am a union member in a

I am a union member in a right to work state. Now dont get me wrong...there is a lot of baggage that comes with being a union member, however its a voluntary agreement..the benefits outweigh the drawbacks for me. In a right to work state I am not forced to join a union to work in my field and I am not forced to pay union dues if I choose to do so(though if I dont pay dues obviously I would no longer be union). This is fine since there is NOTHING WRONG WITH VOLUNTARY ASSOCIATION. I do agree that the way its handled in non-right to work states is wrong.

Right to Work laws are missing the mark

These are laws are just a way around the absurb other laws surrounding unions.

The laws that should be removed or changed are those compelling a business to recognize and contract with a union to begin with. Then if a business freely contracts with a union for labor and they agree what jobs will be union jobs then that is their right to do so. If someone doesn't agree with that then to bad. IF you don't like this condition of employment go somewhere else. You don't have the right to force the business to use non-union labor for a job they want union labor.

However, if a business is forced by law to recognize and compelled to contract with a union for labor then these right to work laws have merit since the union is interfering with contracting between an individual and a business. In this circumstance the condition of employment was created by law not the business and is wrong. So another law is needed to somewhat fix this problem but the root is the orginal law compelling a business to contract with a union they may not want to contract with.

I would suggest that you begin to focus on something ...

that is more of a solution and less of a wedge issue that will do nothing but divide constituents.

Unions have just as much right to freely associate as the next guy.

Yeah, yeah, I know, they get special protections and that is unfortunate, but these laws came about because of corruption and corporatism and if you end that, the union question regarding special protections will simply fade away becuase it will no longer be needed.

God Bless.

Who do you think won this debate?

Just curious? Need to refine our argument b4 next election.




The right to work is a

The right to work is a figment of the imagination, and there should be no such defined right. Rights are listed to tell the government its limits, they aren't to tell people they must grant rights to others on their own private property. Government should not even be in business, so we don't need a granted "right to work." This makes public enterprise unconstitutional. If that was enforced, we wouldn't have such bloated agencies and people would be accountable for stuff like their child's education. Business is private property. They do not have to employ you, and they can refuse or terminate employment for any reason they want, even if it's discriminatory.

Please come join my forum if you're not a trendy and agree with my points of view.

I Agree With Your Anaylsis

I see this a a freedom of association issue

If a group of people vote on having a third party for representation, then so be it

However, that 3rd party should not be entitled to represent any new employees without their consent.
With this in mind, the 3rd party representor ought to make their case to each new employee.

Also I do not like the idea of giving the 3rd party sole domain over the employee representation. Employees ought to have the ability to hire any third party representation that they see fit... or none at all.


I bet if there wan't two of them against you, there would have been no debate.

Thanks for bringing this up...good subject.


Liberty versus Crime

If I can help, it seems to me anyway, my help would be in the form of making the complex simple.


What is the base principle, the simplest principle from which to base any other complex additions?



Is it accurate to say that a monopoly, or single supplier, of anything needed, or anything wanted to a point where the wanted supply is as highly demanded as a need, such as oxygen, food, shelter, water, happiness, etc., is it accurate to say that a monopoly supplier must rely upon lies, threats, and aggressive violence, or involuntary association, to maintain that condition of being the ONE, the ONLY, The Monopoly Supplier?

Is it accurate to boil this down to this principle, or is it not accurate?

Monopoly/Union/Crime/Lies/Threats/Involuntary Association/False Law Power

Is it accurate to view this argument in this way?

If it is accurate, then who would find reason to falsify the fact that it is accurate to view this argument this way?

Union, Monopoly, single supplier of needful things, must be, by factual reality, invented by criminals, produced by criminals, and maintained by criminals, because there is no other way, in reality, to crush competition to effect, bring about, and maintain, said Union, Monopoly, or single supplier of needful things.

There are exceptions such as an individual who possesses unique talents.

If this way of boiling this argument down to the base principle is not true, not accurate, then someone could show why it is not true, and that someone could do so without resorting to deception, threats, and aggressive violence as a means of winning the argument.

When the criminals take over, which they did in 1788, here in American, they crush competition, and one way that the criminals crush competition is to divide the targeted victims into divisions that are subsequently set in conflict with each other, for reasons that can become painfully obvious if anyone cares to look.


I am a public sector employee,

and my position is covered in the union contract. I have the option of paying "fair share" but its the same amount as membership dues.

What gets my goat is that my dues are paying for Democrat lobbying interests against my will. I've been told that there is a way to get a few pennies back but the hoops to go through are so complex to discourage it.

Unions are

Special interests groups. Illinois leads the country with 100b in pension deficits, increasing 17m/day. All this to keep the state BLUE.

Ron Paul Was Right

if a private company forces you to join a union as a condition

Of employment, that's their prerogative.

There should be no law except to enforce voluntary contracts. If you dont like the stipulations in the contract, find another place of employment.

Right to work laws should be geared towards the public sector.

Unfortunately with licensing, union monopolies, and subsidized everything, there is no private sector anymore.

Best bet is just go after the banksters. Everything will work itself out after that


why would...

Why would private companies have any incentive to force employees to join a union?

Union and business

Union and business relationships in some industries can be legally quite complicated. The interests on both sides are so convoluted that they can ultimately be anti-competitive and anti-consumer (even anti-taxpayer as sometimes the public gets stuck with the bill for negotiated agreements that limit competition and subsidize industry).

close relationship with the union

Large scale organization hence better system of organization. Or maybe just negotiated in the contract with the union. Just sayin...