Let’s get this straight: Right to Work laws, permissible under Section 14(b) of the National Labor Relations Act (the “Wagner Act”) due to Taft-Hartley Act amendments, have little to do with workers’ right to choose and everything to do with workers’ right to freeload. National media pundits who’ve never actually organized or represented workers themselves, even though they may be members of SAG – AFTRA or the CWA (Communications Workers of America) media sector (such as The Newspaper Guild) have tended to generalize in their discussions of the issue and thus have not really explained it well to the American people. They have tended to put the emphasis on the unions’ abilities to represent their members in contract negotiations, or, as President Obama opined in a speech in Michigan, their ability to organize.
Those arguments are real, but they’re off the essential point of why somebody who refuses to pay union dues is freeloading. Under various provisions of the Wagner Act, Taft-Hartley Act and the Landrum-Griffin Act which make the union the exclusive bargaining representative for all workers in a recognized unit (whether or not they’re dues paying members of the union), which give workers the right to sue unions that represent them for unfair representation, and make union officers trustees and fiduciaries for their unions (Title V of the Landrum-Griffin Act), unions are obligated to fairly represent all workers. Today on MSNBC, interviewed by Andrea Mitchell, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder argued that unions benefit from right-to-work laws because they are forced to be more responsive to workers. This is absurd because they’re already legally obligated as fiduciaries to be responsive.
In the case of Hines vs Anchor Motor Freight, (1976) 424 US 554, the United States Supreme Court held that a union doesn’t just have to process your grievance case all the way through arbitration if it’s a valid case, they also have to adequately investigate the case and not just go through the motions. Now, imagine that you’re a freeloader who refuses to pay union dues as a result of your state’s right to work law and you force a union to spend it’s resources going all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court to defend itself against your allegations that the union shop stewards and business agents didn’t do everything under the sun to keep you from losing your job. Who’s dues money got spent in the process? Not yours, but that of your co-workers who are union members.
As an ex-Teamster, local 396, I agree with you. I remember when my first union dues came out of my paycheck. I resented it at first, until I worked long enough to see a few contract negotiations that always were in my favor, thanks to union protection from UPS’s corporate greed. One of these days I will start getting pension retirement benefits. I can tell you that my husband, who didn’t work there long enough to be vested, won’t get a pension from anyone. Not many people in these United States do any more, do they?
Ron This is pure propaganda and does not address the actual point of what RTW even means. Good grief B you are smarter than this. You know darned well that labor unions, particularly public employee unions, are RICO partners spending MY tax dollars (Aka “union dues”) to influence political issues from elections of the POTUS (auto bailout) to prison building (CCPOA and other LEO unions). Total garbage here and not very good at that.
Jan B. Tucker Ron, you may not be aware of the Beck Rule of the U.S. Supreme Court. Union members have the right to opt-out of paying that portion of their dues that goes to political work.
Ron Jan: I read your entire article and still see through your obvious bias. Labor unions were a useful tool early in the industrial revolution but have expanded into something even more sinister and CRIMINAL in many/most cases of public employee unions.
Ron Like any other “product,” if the union provides a service that members feel is worth the “dues” then they will have no problems keeping members. If they do: Adios!
Ron, I know full well what the problems are with unions. I was first vice president of Newspaper Guild Local 69. When our local got absorbed into a CWA local I continued to represent that local in the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, I asked an impertinent question about local finances and wound up sacked.
However, because there are some very decent laws and regulatory agencies that deal with stuff like this if you know how to navigate the system, there are remedies to pursue that are far more effective than remedies a worker can pursue with their employer absent a union. I am a switch hitter in my Industrial Relations consulting work. Sometimes I work for unions, sometimes I work for management. Sometimes I work for rank and file insurgent groups or individual dissidents against their own union management. When I was VP of the Newspaper Guild, my local represented employees of other unions against their own union management and I wound up in knock-down drag out fights against union managements on occasion.
As a licensed private investigator I have also wound up dealing at times with the Office of Labor Racketeering when it was an independent department of the U.S. Department of Labor and later when it was transferred into the Inspector General’s office of the US DOL under the Bush administration which really screwed it up. Bottom line is, my professional and expert opinion based upon my background, training, education, and experience is, RTW is fundamentally unfair and non-productive unless you want to repeal the entire regulatory structure: if you do so then unions get back tools banned by the Taft-Hartley Act like “hot-cargo,” secondary boycotts, political strikes, representation strikes without having to sign up 33% of the work force and all kinds of other tools they gave up to participate in the structure of a regulated Wagner Act/Landrum Griffin Act environment. That alternative would be fine with me and with a lot of labor leaders I know.
|B Cayenne Bird mentioned you in a comment.|
|B Cayenne wrote: “The people who fought and died to build labor unions for workers were correct Ron Givens. You are a little younger than Jan B. Tucker and I, so I don’t know if you were educated on how things were in America before labor unions. Why would anyone who isn’t rich fight for Right to Work laws? This is a scam of the rich so that they can exploit middle and lower class American workers. I don’t get it Ron? How can you take their side?”|