Tag Archives: Libertarian

Right-to-Work and Individual Freedom

All across the political spectrum, there are disagreements on the relationship of right-to-work, worker’s rights and employer’s rights.

Right-to-work states

From: Wikipedia

What is Right-to-work?

Right-to-work laws have been enacted in 22 states stretching from Nevada and Colorado to North Dakota and across the Southeast. Right-to-work laws, as well as the “union shop” and “agency shop” rules came from statutes of the Taft-Hartley Act.

A “Union Shop” is one where in order to hold a job at such a facility, one must join the union and/or pay dues/fees. In other words, you must be putting money in the union’s treasury or you cannot work in a union shop. An “agency shop” simply requires the payment of dues/fees to keep the position, no membership is required.

Right-to-work statutes simply say that no employee can be forced to join a union or pay dues/fees as a condition of employment. This “open shop” rule does not prevent an employee from joining a union – it simply leaves that choice to them and prevents an employer from terminating them based on their union membership status.

Progressive View

Labor-rights activists and the progressive movement believe that if a member can choose to not pay dues into the union, he/she may benefit on the back of the union-negotiated contract without having paid into the organization. Before long, no worker would want to pay into an organization if there were no perceived benefits.

The progressive-left is heavily in-support for forced union membership.  But freedom must also be considered. The owner of the business must be able to choose who is hired or fired without impediment from a labor organization. The employee must also be able to choose to or not to enlist in the union as it is his/her money that will be used to fund union’s political efforts.

If the union is negotiating and acting in the best interest of the workers, it is logical to foresee that many workers would desire to join such an organization. The antithesis is also true and may be why unions are fighting against re-certification rules such as that put forward in Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s budget repair bill.

Libertarian View

Libertarians have taken two different stances based on the perspective of whose freedom is being protected. From one perspective, the employer’s freedom to hire and negotiate a contract as he/she wants is should not be challenged by any interference from the government – both from a union shop or right-to-work view.  The other perspective would focus on the employee’s right to freely assemble (or not) – join a union or don’t.

Section 2.7 of the Libertarian platform states:

We support repeal of all laws which impede the ability of any person to find employment. We oppose government-fostered forced retirement. We support the right of free persons to associate or not associate in labor unions, and an employer should have the right to recognize or refuse to recognize a union. We oppose government interference in bargaining, such as compulsory arbitration or imposing an obligation to bargain.

While all free-market Capitalists should be able to support this plank, the rub is in the implied outcome  – what if an employer wanted only union members in his shop? Then there is contention between the freedom of the employee to pursue gainful employment and the freedom of the employer to do as he wishes with his business – his property.

This could present a situation where all business-owners in the all-to-critical blender repair sector choose to only hire union workers. The non-union blender repairman is then forced to join a union and give a portion of his check, his property, unwillingly – or face unemployment.

Free-Market Conservative View

From a free-market Conservative standpoint,  the impact these statutes on worker’s freedom are discussed in F.A. Hayek’s book The Consitution of Liberty :

If legislation, jurisdiction, and the tolerance of executive agencies had not created privileges for the unions, the need for special legislation concerning them would probably not have arisen in common-law countries. But, once special privileges have become part of the law of the land, they can be removed only by special legislation. Though there ought to be no need for special ‘right-to-work laws,’ it is difficult to deny that the situation created in the United States by legislation and by the decisions of the Supreme Court may make special legislation the only practicable way of restoring the principles of freedom.

Right-to-work is only necessary because laws exist to protect the unions. If we could abolish the National Labor Rights Act – so could be gone the Right-to-work laws. If one remains, so shall the other. Unfortunately, it is not reasonable to think that will happen any time soon.


Personally, I like the idea of the Libertarian plank even though I do not belong to the Libertarian party. We should get rid of NLRA, union shops, agency shops, right-to-work .. all of it. The reality is that there is no appetite for it in the current political climate. We have to move towards it as a strategy, using well-defined tactics or we will be stuck with all of it for the foreseeable future – or worse.

First we have to give workers the freedom to vote their unions in or out on regular basis (recertification). Then as unions are forced to become more customer-focused or die, NLRA becomes less relevant and easily dismantled. Once NLRA goes, right-to-work can be burnt in the ashes of government interference.


Exploring Possible 2012 Presidential Candidates: Gary Johnson

Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson could very well be the sleeper no one expected to win, candidate in the 2012 presidential elections. This budget hawk was the Governor of New Mexico for 8 solid years in which he proved a formidable foe to big spending State politicians from both parties. In another surprise, he also placed 3rd in the recent CPAC 2011 presidential straw poll beating the likes of big name con-servatives such as Newt Gingrich, Tim Pawlenty, Sarah Palin,, and Mike Huckabee. Of note is that the CPAC straw poll was dominated by Ron Paul and his supporters once again, as Mr. Paul won with 30% of the votes.  Also of note is that many people consider Mr. Johnson to be a Ron Paul- type Libertarian, yet when we take a close look at Mr. Johnson’s credentials we see two very different politicians. For all of Ron Paul’s bluster, he simply hasn’t accomplished the budgetary success, or proven to be as effective at slowing down big government, as Mr. Johnson has.

29th Governor of New Mexico*
In office
January 1, 1995 – January 1, 2003
Lieutenant Walter Bradley
Preceded by Bruce King
Succeeded by Bill Richardson

Born January 1, 1953 (1953-01-01) (age 58)
Minot, North Dakota
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Dee Simms (1977-2005) (divorced)
Alma mater University of New Mexico
Profession Businessman
Religion Lutheranism

Another fact to consider is that Mr. Johnson could run as a Republican, Libertarian, or even on the Teaparty ticket if the GOP forces the forming of another party by not heeding the warnings of the 2010 mid-term elections. This man also doesn’t fit the mold of the big spending old guardGOP RINOS that helped spend us towards $15 Trillion in national debt the last decade. That is a huge plus for a presidential candidate to woo the voters who are fed up with business as usual in DC. I  am already seeing Democratic operatives trying to downplay Mr. Johnson’s credentials, and pass him off as some kind of Ron Paul light, which should tell the voters that he would be a formidable opponent to far left Barack Obama in 2012.

Mr. Johnson took a controversial stance while Governor of New Mexico in 1999, when he advocated the legalization of marijuana. Citing the huge costs of  States prosecuting and jailing drug offenders, he suggested it be treated as a health issue instead of a criminal issue. He also admitted to self-medicating himself with marijuana after a very serious hang gliding accident in 2005, yet today he says he abstains from all recreational drug use, including alcohol, caffeine and some sugar products.

Mr. Johnson is also a very successful businessman, turning his handyman service into a multi-billion dollar construction company with over 1000 employees. Now that is what I call job creation, contrary to President Obama’s agenda of government intrusion into the private sector businesses. Mr. Johnson has traveled to over 30 states recently, possibly to give himself name recognition for the 2012 primaries and elections. He re-buffed invitations to join the Libertarian Party in the 2000 elections and endorsed Ron Paul for the 2008 Republican Presidential nomination. Looking back at that election, endorsing Ron Paul over the other candidates doesn’t look like such a mistake on Johnson’s part, considering where we are today. Bottom line is that people need to look at proven track records and experience when voting today, and ignore the media hype and party-line propaganda. In Mr. Johnson’s track record we see some very impressive  statistics against big government spending, which is the most pressing issue in America today. He fought against both parties in his eight years in office, to cut spending and balance the budget successfully. He used the line item veto thousands of times, more than all 49 other governors combined. He cut the growth rate of New Mexico’s government in half. He currently lives in Taos, New Mexico and has 2 grown children. He was married to his wife, Dee Johnson for 28 years and they divorced in 2005, and she passed away in Dec. of 2006 of heart disease.

This man is a proven fiscal hawk along the lines of Paul Ryan, with the proven ability to work with both parties to cut down the size and scope of our government. He will have great appeal to the Teaparty and independent voters alike. The main problem is whether the Old Guard GOP would be willing to extend a hand to him to break their pattern of nominating proven Crony-Rinos, which would only ensure Obama gets reelected in 2012. This man certainly deserves a serious consideration for the Republican nomination for President in 2012.

*Stats provided by wikipedia  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gary_E._Johnson

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