Friday, March 13, 2015
Right to work?
There is a wave of anti-worker laws sweeping this country, all with the promise of greater freedom and greater prosperity.
The only problem is, the only freedom and prosperity will come to the rich.
Workers have been convinced it is in our interest, we have been convinced unions are greedy, we have been convinced that we should trust the top 1% and that they will "take care of us."
We are being deceived.
Wisconsin recently passed a "Freedom to Work" law, which guarantees no one need pay union dues in order to work at a union shop.
Sounds good on the surface, right?
Right to choose for ourselves and all.
However, if we look under the surface, we see it is an attempt to destroy unions by forcing them to negotiate and represent workers, without the workers paying their fair share.
First, let me state this.
No one is forced to join a union. No one. Federal law makes it illegal.
Federal law states that if the workers of a shop decide to unionize, then the union must represent ALL the workers at that shop. THEN, if the workers and management negotiate language in the contract it allows the union to collect dues to cover the costs of representing these workers. These dues are called "fair share" or "agency fees."
If such a worker wants to be a "member", then they must pay a higher rate, usually about 15% higher, to cover union activities not related representation of the workers, such as political activity.
This is what concerns politicians such as Scott Walker. He knows unions will support politicians who support working families and he does not.
It's like this.
Say there is a shop of 100 people and they decide to form a union.
Say it costs $10/person/week to cover the costs of negotiations, grievances, arbitrations, etc.(fair share costs).
So the guys contribute $1000/week into a kitty and pay expenses out of that.
90 of the guys decide they should fight for laws that benefit their families and for organizing the shop down the street which does the same thing so they can make the whole industry better, so they start kicking in $1 a week extra, but they don't force the other 10 guys to kick in.
Now they have $1090/week.
Scott Walker comes along, and says, "no one has to pay!" The party of small government and limited regulation decides they should get to say what you can and can’t bargain over. Even if a majority of the workers in the shop voted for it to be in their contract.
Some guys become slow contributing or even stop (because they're not getting a living wage to start and that's why they unionized), but the negotiation, grievance, and arbitration costs continue to come in.
Each week the costs exceed the income.
The guys can't work for laws to help their families, they can't even negotiate, grieve or arbitrate effectively.
It's ingenious if you're Scott Walker, who doesn't believe in a middle class. Studies show states with these kinds of laws do worse and have a smaller middle class and higher wage inequity.
Or, think of it this way.
Your town passes a law that says you don't have to pay your taxes.
However, you still have to fund your school, plow your streets, etc.
Who's going to make up the difference for all your dead beat neighbors not paying?
Everyone needs to pay their "fair share" for the town to function, it's no different in a workplace.