When I get an email that begins with “I was just lucky enough to read your column” and ends with “PROUD UNION MEMBER,” there’s a good chance that what’s in between will offer little evidence that the writer actually felt fortunate to have read the column.
That’s especially true for labor fat cats who feel threatened when policies are introduced that would require them to compete for members and dues by persuading – rather than cajoling or coercing – individuals to surrender up to 2 percent of their hard-earned paychecks.
If union membership works for you, I strongly encourage you: join and faithfully pay your dues. All I ask is that you don’t deny others their choice, and don’t belittle them if they see life through a different lens.
Also, please use facts and common sense instead of emotion and union rhetoric when stating your views.
If you do that, we can have a reasonable and fruitful debate.
But it’s arduous to even try and have a sensible and evenhanded forum with an emailer who snidely remarks that since I believe in liberty then I must believe that people “shouldn’t be forced to have to pay monthly dues/fees to get a country club membership,” or that a person “shouldn’t be forced to have to pay monthly payments to get – or keep” a house, new car, boat or membership.
Please. No one coerces me into buying a house, car, boat or membership. I choose to make those purchases. However, without a right-to-work law, the union forces employees at unionized operations to pay dues whether they want their services or not.
Another “dog that won’t hunt” (to use a phrase our “PROUD UNION MEMBER” in Hoosierland probably doesn’t understand, but we Kentuckians surely do) is his claim that right-to-work promotes “FREELOADING” by workers who receive benefits of union representation without paying dues.
Fortunately, that dog didn’t even whimper at a recent meeting of the Warren County Fiscal Court in Bowling Green, during which magistrates voted 6-1 to become America’s first right-to-work county. The court with its vote showed courage, poise and a great desire to attract new companies and jobs to their community.
They understand that the “freeloading” issue exists because labor unions choose to have it that way.
When a union organizes at a Kentucky workplace, it decides whether to be the “exclusive “or “members only” representative.
If unions apply to represent only those who become members and pay dues, they are not the exclusive representative, which allows other unions to come to their plant and compete for members and dues.
So unions almost always choose to seek to become exclusive representatives, thus denying individuals who might prefer a different union – or no representation at all – a choice. As a result, unions must provide exclusive representation, which, in right-to-work states, means that some non-union members may reap some benefits.
But just like I pay for that house, car, boat and membership only if I choose to, unions are exclusive representatives only because they pick that path.
This freeloading argument was used by opponents who challenged Indiana’s right-to-work law, which passed in 2012 – and which the Hoosier State has used to leave Kentucky behind in the economic-development dust.
The Indiana Supreme Court rejected the argument, ruling that: “The Union’s federal obligation to represent all employees in a bargaining unit is optional; it occurs only when the union elects to be the exclusive bargaining agent, for which it is justly compensated by the right to bargain exclusively with the employer.”
Louisville attorney and right-to-work advocate Jason Nemes calls the freeloading argument a “tired old dog that won’t hunt; in fact, this dog never did hunt.”
Soon we won’t even be able to find that dog.