Tag Archives: right-to-work

Right to Work States Have Healthier Economies

This week Wisconsin became the 25th state in the union to pass and sign into law so-called “right to work” legislation. Despite the pejorative light oftentimes associated with right to Work (RTW) laws, in reality all they do is proscribe the requirement that a worker join or pay dues to a union as a qualification for employment.

2015-Right-To-Work-States-Map-updated Unions often view laws removing compulsory union membership for work in the private sector as “anti-union,” while advocates of right to work laws maintain it’s a matter of personal liberty and economic freedom. They argue that workers in given trades or industries should have the option to choose whether to join a union or not. Arguably, if a union is doing a good job representing the interests of its members, it should not be threatened by the freedom to choose, as the benefits of union membership would be self-evident.

Even some union leadership supports such a sentiment. Gary Casteel, the Southern region director for the United Auto Workers, explains, “This is something I’ve never understood, that people think right to work hurts unions. To me, it helps them. You don’t have to belong if you don’t want to. So if I go to an organizing drive, I can tell these workers, ‘If you don’t like this arrangement, you don’t have to belong.’ Versus, ‘If we get 50 percent of you, then all of you have to belong, whether you like to or not.’ I don’t even like the way that sounds, because it’s a voluntary system, and if you don’t think the system’s earning its keep, then you don’t have to pay.”

right_to_work_1One cannot be a student of history without recognizing the tremendous contributions unions made to the emergence of the middle class in early to mid 20th century America. They significantly improved working conditions, workweek hours, and compensation levels.

In today’s highly competitive economy, their focus seems to have changed, as they seem to be primarily political entities today, with compulsory union dues used mostly for amassing power in the political arena, and spent on candidates and causes that some members may object to. Even Bob Chanin, former top lawyer for the National Education Association, admitted that in his farewell speech a few years ago. “It’s not about the kids…it’s about power,” he said.

hohmanRTW-chart2According to Department of Labor statistics, only about 7% of America’s private sector workforce is unionized. In post World War II era, it was nearly 40%. The trend is reversed for public employees, where 60 years ago the unionized segment of the public employees workforce was less than 10%, while it currently is nearly 37%. Logic leads one to surmise that maybe all those “evil corporations” have gotten it right, and are providing pay and benefits at a level that employees are satisfied with. While the same logic might lead us to believe that, following those trends, it is “evil government” that is taking advantage of employees and must be represented by collective bargaining.

Average wages do tend to be slightly lower in right to work states, as reported by The Wall Street Journal last year. But the differences may be attributable to other factors. As the Journal explained, “Many economists say when differences in cost of living are taken into account, wages are roughly the same—or even higher—in right-to-work states.” When looking at a map of non-right to work states, geographical and cost of living factors seem to affirm that distinction.

GDP Growth Rate Strongest In Right To Work States

GDP Growth Rate Strongest In Right To Work States

Last year the National Institute for Labor Relations released a detailed study of right to work vs. non-right to work states. The research was based upon data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, United States Census Bureau, United States Patent and Research Office and Bureau of Economic Analysis. Five economic factors were analyzed in right to work and non-right to work states in the Midwest, with the following statistical conclusions:

Job growth is twice as strong in RTW states. The percentage growth of non-farm private sector jobs (1995-2005)
in right to work states was 12.9%
while non-right to work states came in at 6.0%.

Perhaps surprising to some, poverty is actually higher in non-right to work states. Average poverty rate, adjusted for cost of living was 8.5% in RTW states, and 10.1% in non-right to work states. This may likewise have more to do with geography and cost of living factors, however.

New company and new product growth is significantly greater in RTW states. During that same period, annual percentage growth in patents granted was 33% in RTW states, and only 11% in non-right to work states.

500px-RTWmapcompleteIncome growth rates are higher in RTW states as well. The percentage growth in real personal income was 26.0%
in RTW states, while non-right to work states grew at 19.0%.

Even health insurance coverage in RTW states fared better. Note that this data was gathered before implementation of Obamacare. The percentage growth in number of people covered by employment based private health insurance was 8.5% for RTW states, and 0.7%
for non-right to work states.

Consequently, based on National Institute for Labor Relations research, right to work states create more private sector jobs, enjoy lower poverty rates, experience more technology development, realize more personal income growth, and increase the number of people covered by employment-based private health insurance. Clearly when looking at the big picture, the economy of a state is more likely to be more robust when the workforce has the freedom to choose.

Associated Press award winning columnist Richard Larsen is President of Larsen Financial, a brokerage and financial planning firm in Pocatello, Idaho and is a graduate of Idaho State University with degrees in Political Science and History and coursework completed toward a Master’s in Public Administration. He can be reached at [email protected].

Twinkies strike back: Unions are weakening

After the Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco Workers and Gran Millers International Union attempted to extort Hostess out of unfair and expensive concessions, union workers will be left out of jobs as twinkies return to production.

NBCNEWS.COM reports that “Twinkies are coming back—but under a new management that vows to use nonunion workers.”

A third of Hostess’ production was union labor, but after union members struck, the manufacturer had no choice but to close and reorganize.

Business experts like Alan James of Pace University say, “Unions have been very good in the past making sure we have benefits like maternity leave, but their leadership continues to think only of themselves and not their members.”

Doubting the value of unions, James continued saying “Why should I pay dues when I don’t see any positive results?’

History professor Daniel Opler feels that the Hostess showdown showed the weakness of unions.

“There’s no question the bakers union that rejected a settlement made a tactical error here,” he said.

Unions have pushed several showdowns in recent years. Often asking for concessions that would leave companies unable to compete.

States are empowering workers to ditch expensive union dues by enacting right-to-work laws and workers are supporting them in ever increasing numbers.

Business analyst James Alan said feels that low membership rates could indicate that unions are weakening.

Union Membership Plummets

unions

It’s not your dad’s union anymore. The strength of the unions during the 50’s or 80’s is long gone.

The nation’s labor unions suffered sharp declines in membership last year, led by losses among public sector workers in financially struggling states and municipalities. According to the Bureau of Labor union rates are at the lowest level since the 1930’s. Union membership fell in 34 states.

Total union membership decreased by about 400,000 workers with teachers’ unions hardest hit. Public sector union worker numbers dropped though due in large part to cash strapped cities and localities reducing staff.

Detroit News: Michigan accounted for about 10 percent of the nation’s loss of unionized workers as the Wolverine State fell to the seventh most-unionized state, from fifth in 2011.

In Michigan, union membership fell more sharply than the national average; It was down to 16.6 percent in 2012, compared with 17.5 percent in 2011. Michigan lost 42,000 union workers, falling to 629,000 in 2012.

Union administration in states like Wisconsin and Michigan are bracing for additional union member loss as new state laws moving toward ‘right to work’ status take effect. Promoters of the unions remind workers that union worker wages remain higher than nonunion. Others, particularly looking at public sector benefits, including pensions are pushing for changes that will allow the cities to reduce their debt to retired employees.
Read more at:  Detroit News.

Do Union Organizers Want Us to Dislike Them?

union cardThough most of the news coverage in Michigan this week has been tepid, showing calm crowds protesting quietly, a few intrepid journalists entered the protest area and filmed a far more violent and angry mob. (Even Huffington Post had to admit things got more than a little out of hand when Conservative Steven Crowder was punched, not once, but four times when he dared to question the protestors. You can see the video here.)

Also this week there is a union protest in Philadelphia by electricians who did not get an apartment renovation job. But again, not a quiet march with pickets, these protesters are blaring a loud recorded message that includes an annoyingly long crying jag by a fussy baby. The electricians are protesting the use of a non-union contractor to do electrical work on renovations at the apartment building. Residents say they have nothing against organized labor making a point, but this?

“I know everybody says they’ve got their rights,” says longtime apartment resident Jean Smith, “and that’s fine. But don’t we have rights too, that we have to hear this constantly- every day?”
“The crying of the baby- it doesn’t give them no sympathy,” says apartment dweller David Dickson. “It’s not helping them.”

At a time when unions seem to be losing their strength one would think, no expect, that they would promote themselves in a positive light, explaining to the public why they can be helpful to the average worker. Instead incidents like these examples beg the question, do union organizers really want us to dislike them?
Philadelphia News, Weather and Sports from WTXF FOX 29

Ellison ‘Stands With’ Violent Protesters

Hours after a union mob violently attacked a pro-right-to-work group in Lansing, MI, Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison posted to his Facebook page and Twitter feed that he is “proud to stand with working people in Michigan to oppose “Right To Work For Less” legislation.

Ellison shared the following photo on his Facebook page courtesy of We Are Michigan, a coalition of unions and progressive groups.

Surely Rep. Ellison was aware of the violence and turmoil that took place today that included vandalism, mob behavior and a comedian being punched in the face. Certainly he had heard about the Michigan State Rep. Doug Geiss made calling for “blood” over the pending legislation. Does the congressman “stand” behind these atrocities?

Rep. Ellison did not return attempts for comment.
*******************************************
Follow me on Twitter!

Who is Rep Keith Ellison? Here’s a start: The Company You Keep
Ellison’s Town Hall #Fail
Ellison’s 2009 Arrest

Punched In The Face!

Conservative activist and comedian Steven Crowder was punched in the face at least four times as he attempted to stop a union mob from destroying a tent in a Lansing, MI protest over right-to-work legislation.

Crowder suffered bruises to his face and a chipped tooth in the assault. Additional footage can be seen on the Sean Hannity show on Fox News Channel.

Free Michigan

Michigan is now the 24th right to work state in America.

Public workers in Michigan are now free to work without being forced to pay legalized extortion to unions as a precondition of their employment.

As union labor gathered by the thousands, Michigan’s legislature voted approval Tuesday to “right-to-work” legislation.  The House and the Senate both approved the measure, making membership and payment of union dues optional.  Governor Rick Snyder has promised to sign it into law.

More than 12,000 protestors from around the Midwest gathered for the vote.  Union thugs dissatisfied with the vote attacked the Americans for Prosperity tent, tore it down and slashed it apart with knives while members of AFP were still inside.

Union promised there will be more to come.

From the floor of the Michigan House of Representatives, Democratic State Representative State Representative Douglas Geiss threatened “There will be blood.”

Barack Obama described the legislation thusly:  “These so called right-to-work laws, they don’t have anything to do with economics, they have to do with politics.”

This is coming from someone whose entire position on the so-called fiscal cliff negotiations in Washington DC has nothing to do with economics.  It is all about politics.  It is all about destroying the Republican Party and promoting a patently un-American fringe Marxist ideology.

Michigan’s right-to-work law makes it illegal to require financial support of a union as a condition of employment.  When it comes to recruiting businesses to Michigan it will make the state more competitive.  Critics claim it will cripple the ability of unions to fund their political policy objectives.

Unions are forgetting some fundamental principles.  No one should be forced against their will to join a union or to have their paycheck skimmed by unions.  If someone disagrees with their politics, no one should be forced to fund union politics.

For “progressives”, who lay claim to sole possession of concern for working people, forcing Americans who object to their political policy objectives to fund then as a precondition of employment is hypocrisy in the most classic sense.

Hypocrisy, when it comes to speaking about “progressives”, is par for the course.

It is morally right for workers to have the power of decision where it comes to supporting labor unions financially.  People should have the right to work without being forced to pay union dues.  Americans who want to work should not be enslaved by unions.

http://mjfellright.wordpress.com/2012/12/11/free-michigan/
Revolution is coming.

MI Schools Close as Teachers Call-In Sick to Protest

Michigan teachers are calling in sick Tuesday as part of a massive protest effort against the state’s new Right to Work legislation that has just passed in the financially struggling state. At least two school districts are closed Tuesday after discovering more than half their teachers will not be working.

The bill would allow workers at union-represented employers to not pay dues even though the union would be bargaining on their behalf. Advocates of the bill say it will help attract business to the state which has unemployment over 9%;  while unions, who represent over 17% of the workers, believe this bill will weaken their bargaining position by cutting financial resources.

Governor Rick Snyder is expected to sign the bill into law Tuesday.

One Decision From Disaster [PodCast]

The unions are just another mechanism by which the progressive, extremist, left-wing radicals are working to fundamentally transform America. Unfortunately, they are only the enemy within, there is China, Mexico and much else we should be concerned with. Each of these critical things could be dealt with by making one critical decision – by the end of the podcast, you’ll know who has to make it.

Listen below or right-click on the link and “save as” so you can put it on your mp3 player/ipod for listening later.

One Decision From Disaster

Tweeps to follow:
@galtsgirl
@Rcdellara

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.

Summary

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.