Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Right to Work

Labor day is a day when nobody works, which is a pretty good summary of the labor movement these days. The labor movement is not a natural product of the worker solidarity, if it ever was. Instead, it is a creature of legal privilege. Specifically, if a given employer is unionized, the government forces all workers to pay union dues whether they want to or not.

This is outrageous. People should not be forced to give money to a union if they don't want to. Apparently, a majority of Michiganders agree. An article in the Free Press states that a poll shows that voters support repealing mandatory union dues by a 56-35 margin. This is true in a heavy union state, with 42% of union members supporting the change.

The unions aren't happy about this.

Peter Eckstein, an Ann Arbor-based economist formerly on the staff of the Michigan AFL-CIO, said that if the question had been posed not as an issue of choice, but as whether workers should be allowed to freeload off of union benefits paid for by others, the response may have been different.
He's right, but freedom of choice is the right way to think about it. The fact is that you have to pay the union regardless of whether it produces the promised benefits.

I'd love to see how liberals would like to see the "free rider" argument used against them. For example, we know that gun ownership reduces crime. This benefits everyone, not just the people who own guns. The National Rifle Association defends gun ownership. Therefore, everyone should be required to pay dues to the NRA.

Or how about this. Some people who are now alive would have been killed without the current restrictions on abortion. Therefore everyone should be forced to pay dues to Right to Life.

Then there's this.

Kevin King, 34, a unionized librarian in Kalamazoo's public library system, said he would vote against attempts to make Michigan a right-to-work state. But even King, who grew up in a UAW household and is active in his union, said he can see the complexity in the issue.
Kalamazoo has unionized librarians?

If unions want my money, they should have to work for it. But that's not the union way.

1 comment:

Dan Roth said...

I always laugh at how unions say they look out for the little guy. I was required to be in a union when I worked at a grocery store back in high school. Well during track season I could only work on Saturdays. I'd work 4 hours, come home with $5. The union was taking $15. Even if I was making mininum wage I would have done better without the union.