Saturday, December 15, 2012

Right To Work - The Other Side of the Story

I got an email from my representative in Congress yesterday.  I've quoted the main points in order to offer an opposing point of view.  The full letter can be read here.
This means individual employees can join unions voluntarily, but unions cannot force membership or force the payment of dues across entire worksites.
ALL union membership is and has been voluntary.  The freedom to join or not join is enshrined in federal law. This is actually a victory for management against the freedom and benefits for workers. Indiana and Michigan are the first states in 22 years to move to "right to work" for less.  Most of the 24 states that currently have this regressive policy in place have not seen any improvement in their employment, have seen worker incomes lowered, and benefits decreased.  The corporate profits, however, have soared.
Folks should have the freedom to decide whether or not they will join a union. This freedom creates healthier unions that are constantly seeking to provide better services to members and prospective members. Eliminating this freedom limits the individual freedom of workers, results in fewer jobs, and makes our nation less competitive versus our foreign competitors.
...full union membership cannot lawfully be required. In Pattern Makers v. NLRB, 473 U.S. 95 (1985), the United States Supreme Court held that union members have the right to resign their union membership at any time. 
Most employers do not tell their employees this important bit of information. What can be required are union fees to offset the cost of the the union's bargaining on behalf of both union and non-union employees. Yet there are regulations in place for workers to challenge these fees if they feel it is necessary.

It is silly to call this an "individual freedom" issue.  It's much more about power.  Management doesn't need collective bargaining.  It holds a powerful hand by definition. Workers can only negotiate via collective action.  The real freedom issue here is the right to work for a living wage, proper working conditions, and health benefits that encourage and strengthen the work force.  
As our country struggles to find ways to stay competitive, create more jobs and grow our national economy, states must be looking for commonsense ways to ensure their prosperity. A recent study indicates that there is faster growth in employment and income in states with right to work laws in place.
Indeed, Mr. Goodlatte is talking about global competition.  No longer is America an exceptional nation with regards to the standard of living of its working class.  Competition is simply code for lower wages, fewer benefits and lowering the quality of life for what is left of America's middle class.

Many more studies have found that wages and benefits are lower for both union workers AND non-union workers in RTW  states. These studies actually measure the effects of RTW policies implemented in the laborotories of the states.  There is one study published by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy that suggests an economic benefit from RTW as should be expected from this market-based, conservative think tank seeking to justify its emphasis on corporate power and conservative ideology.
I am also a strong supporter of the National Right to Work Act, which preserves and protects the free choice of individual employees to form, join, or assist labor organizations, or to refrain from such activities. This legislation is simple and reasonable. The bill deletes provisions in federal law that authorizes contracts forcing workers to pay union dues as a condition of employment.
This is a solution in search of a problem. Workers currently freedom to choose their level of union participation. This is federal law.  The NRWA doesn't have anything to do with workers rights join a union or not, pay fees, or dues, or choose in anyway to participate in union activities.  This legislation simply seeks to consolidate the power of management to impose wages, benefits, and workplace conditions to maximize it's competitiveness and profitability. 
... our real competitors are Japan, Mexico, China, and Europe--not Ohio, New York, and California. So by making our nation more competitive as a whole, we also help Virginia’s workers and businesses.
Check the working conditions and wages in these countries.  You will find that the lifestyle of the working class advocated here is quite a bit different than anything associated with the American Dream.  Perhaps it is only the "makers" that are entitled to the American way of life?  Are Real Americans simply the Rich Americans?
By passing right to work legislation in statehouses or in Congress we can restore the freedom of America's workers to choose the form of workplace representation that best suits their needs or to choose not to participate. Most importantly, we help improve the standard of living of all American workers, support job creation and help keep the jobs we already have right here in the United States. These are the kind of pro-growth, pro-jobs policies we need to help fuel our economic recovery.
This couldn't be a clearer statement of pro-management, anti-worker policy. Freedom to work for less?  Power to the "makers?" Creation of a new lower class of workers who are hungrier, sicker, and poorer in order to compete with other countries?  I believe that the economic recovery referred to here is simply a continuation of the powerful push towards Plutocratic Autocracy, fueled by they huge corporate windfall enjoyed by the financial elites during the past recession.  Workers and citizens are not represented here.

Mr. Goodlatte, who do you serve?

More work to do....

No comments: