Right to Work Laws Do More Harm Than Good
CON (3 arguments)
Unions can be very expensive and right-to-work laws give workers the freedom to choose whether they want to join one or not. Workers shouldn't have to pay union dues simply because they want a job and right-to-work laws ensure that people can get a job without having to pay for an expensive union if they don't want to. Union dues add up, sometimes to a few hundred dollars per person per year. For example, the United Automobile, Aerospace, and Agricultural Implement Workers of America's monthly dues reportedly cost about the equivalent of two hours' worth of pay. Right to work laws give workers the right to choose whether or not they want to pay dues for the union, whether or not they're even involved. Of course, many employees don't want to pay dues for unions that they never wanted to be part of in the first place. And many employees don't want to give money to unions that may be using that money to fund political campaigns and other projects with which they don't agree. No worker should be forced to join or pay money to an organization they have no interest in supporting. According to ANH Workplace benefits, the average cost of union dues is $400, or about two hours of pay per month, and can be up to two times as much for construction labor unions. Dues are calculated as two and one half (2.5) times your hourly wage, which is a large sum of money for someone living paycheck to paycheck. On average, unionized teachers in California annually pay $1,072 in dues, of that, only $229 stay with the local union. They also reported that over 76% of all money that union’s generate comes from fundraising events and large donors. This clearly proves that unions could still survive and have funding without as much fees from employees. According to Nathan Wilmers, a professor of Economics at MIT, union’s have become less and less effective at raising wages. Wilmers says, “product markets have become more and more competitive, narrowing profit margins for employers, leaving no room for unions to bargain at all”. On top of this, studies of close union representation elections show that when a union barely wins, wages do not increase any more than they do when a union barely loses. In fact, in over 1,000 unionized companies around the country, when union’s won cases, wages only increased by an average of 3%, which is barely enough money to account for the dues and fees. In this same study, they found that unions have only been able to give employees better benefits 12% of the time, and 88% of unionized employees are left with the same benefits they had before. According to Wilmer’s, “the modern union is a joke”.
Judge, no worker should have to pay expensive union dues if they choose not to. Right to work laws ensure that if a person decides not to be part of a union, they are not forced to hand over money to a union they might not even support. RWL’s take away union fees and dues, allowing workers to spend less money and take home more from their paychecks.
Unions can be extremely harmful to workers in many ways, they silence individual voices, prevent people who don’t support the union from even getting a job and prioritize senior employees. Unions destroy workers rights and only RWL’s can prevent them from harming them. RTWL’s weaken the power of unions to dictate on employees and coerce them to join. In a 1997 Mackinac Center study, Robert P. Hunter, a former regional director of the Federal Labor Relations Authority, defines the problem with unions. Unions discourage people from expressing their opinions and make it hard for workers to have their voices heard. Workers have to obey the decisions of the union even if they disagree with the decision. Sometimes, the only way a unionized employee can get out of the situation is to resign which can be hard for them financially and mentally. When a union is selected to represent employees, the union alone has the legal authority to speak for all employees, including those who neither voted for nor joined the labor organization. No other union, individual or representative may negotiate terms and conditions of employment, and the individual employee is effectively deprived of the opportunity to represent his or her own interests. This essentially gives the union a monopoly over labor negotiations, and someone who doesn’t want to join the union can’t negotiate for themselves. This all happens because of section 9 of the NLRA. The NLRA gives unions exclusive representation, which causes all of these issues. RWL actively fights against exclusive representation, and democratizes the bargaining power of unions. Moreover, once joining the union, these employees cannot negotiate on their own nor can they let another labor union support them. This exact issue played out with coal miners in 2011. When certain coal miners left the union due to high union fees, they were left with no bargaining power. Because the union had complete control over all the workers' wages, they forced the company to raise wages, which caused the company to completely downsize and fire over half of their workers. While the union raised wages for the union members, it caused many non union members to lose their jobs. RTW guarantees this is not going to happen. With this law, employees have the right to voluntarily be a member and quit if they are unhappy with how the union works. This way, unions will be more pro-employees and genuine with providing their services to members. In addition, unions prioritize senior workers which makes it hard for young employees to advance. To prove this even more, unions can discount workers because of time worked at the company. Because of seniority, the perfect employee may not get the job because they have not been with the company/union a specific amount of time.
Workers rights is what this debate should really come down to. RWL protect worker’s rights in many different ways. Not only do they take away exclusive representation, they also take away closed environments. This together allows workers to apply to any job they want, without being a union member. RWL’s also protect the worker’s right to choose. Workers shouldn’t be forced into a union when they have legitimate reasons not to join. Moreover, right to work laws give job security through the abolishment of exclusive representation, fighting to make sure incidents like the 2011 coal miner job loss. RWLs also provide a way for people to earn more money, because these useless dues aren’t being taken from their paycheck.
In jobs that require unionization workers can often be fired if they refuse to pay union dues. Companies can even prevent people who don’t support the union from even getting a job in the first place. No worker should have to choose between paying expensive dues and having a job. Right to work laws make sure that if a worker does not want to join a union, they will not be fired. “Union contracts frequently require employees to pay union dues or lose their jobs,” writes James Sherk, Research Fellow at The Heritage Foundation. “This forces workers to support the union financially even if the union contract harms them or they oppose the union’s agenda.” When there are right to work laws in place that govern the employment contract, then the union cannot impose a restriction on someone because they refused to pay fees or dues. Workers opt out to save some money, and then they still get to benefit from the presence of representation. With right to work laws in place, you cannot be fired for not paying union dues. As a practical instance of a worker losing their job in the real world, Michael Romanchock recently got let go. But he was not “downsized.” His employer had no issues with his performance. Romanchock got fired for not paying dues to the Teamsters. His experience demonstrates how right-to-work would help Wisconsin’s workers and unemployed. Romanchock started his job in June last year. This March, the Teamsters sent him a letter demanding dues. Romanchock refused. He had worked nine months without realizing the Teamsters represented him. Why pay $600 a year for representation he could not even notice? In May, the union threatened to have him fired if he did not pay. He still refused. So the Teamsters’ local made good on its threat. At its behest, Romanchock’s employer — a Pepsi bottling plant in Pennsylvania — let him go. Additionally, workers who arent part of unions can be prevented from getting jobs all together. According to ANH Workplace benefits, workplaces with unions often have a closed environment. Closed environments are regulations that make it so employees have to be members of the union in order to apply for a job. Right to work" laws do nothing to impede employees from voluntarily joining or paying dues to a union; they simply ensure that no worker can be forced to hand over a portion of his or her hard-earned paycheck to union officials just to keep a job.
It is extremely important that workers don't have to choose between paying expensive union dues and having a job. Without these RTW laws, employees are forced to either fund something that they don't support or become unemployed. This is such a huge problem and RTW laws could fix it.