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Heritage catches unions in right-to-work lie

Posted: December 12, 2012 at 12:45 pm   /   by

Yesterday, in Michigan votes for freedom, unions prefer fascism, I made the following point about the unions’ prime argument against right-to-work laws:

And yet, this is being portrayed as a crime against humanity. In fact, a quintessential union street thug with the name Hoffa put it this way:

RT @teamsters: #Hoffa: ‘#MI Michigan People should NOT have a choice to join a union or not…thats Unamerican

The way Hoffa and union members justify this nugget of Orwellian profundity is to say that people who refuse to pay union dues are “freeloaders” who benefit from union contracts and collective bargaining efforts without having to pay. Unfortunately, this doesn’t fly.

First, there is no reason to believe that an individual worker might not be able to work out a better deal with an employer. Union contracts don’t only raise up workers—sometimes, they hold high-achieving workers back.

Second, there is no moral justification for forcing a union contract on anyone. The worker may not simply wish to avoid paying dues, he may very well also not wish to be represented by a union contract at all. It is immoral to force him to be. It takes away his choice. It takes away his rights.

Third, we have to state again that forcing someone to pay money for something he does not want, and preventing him from freely negotiating the sale of his labor, are actual violations of human rights.THAT’S “Unamerican.”

This morning, Heritage points out another reason why the unions’ “freeloader” argument is not only bunk, but profoundly dishonest (emphasis added):

Under the National Labor Relations Act, unions are free to represent all employees – not just union members – at the bargaining table. But they are not required to do so.

“The National Labor Relations Act does not mandate unions exclusively represent all employees, but permits them to electively do so,” explained Heritage’s James Sherk in a Monday column. ”Under the Act, unions can also negotiate ‘members-only’ contracts that only cover dues-paying members. They do not have to represent other employees.”

Heritage also points out that the numbers do not support the unions’ claims:

Moreover, the free-rider argument implies that workers’ union dues would go at least predominately toward activities that achieve better compensation or other workplace benefits. But neither is that the case.

In fact, less than a quarter (24.1 percent) of expenditures by Michigan’s 25 largest private sector (or public/private hybrid) union locals go toward actually representing workers, according to those unions’ latest LM-2 filings (obtained via the Labor Department’s website – see spreadsheet below for a more detailed breakdown). The rest goes toward other expenditures, including benefits, political activity, and general overhead.

Read the rest.

Violent AND dishonest. No wonder private sector union membership has plummeted to historic lows.

Christopher Cook

Christopher Cook

Managing Editor at Western Free Press
Christopher Cook is a writer, editor, and political commentator. He is the president of Castleraine, Inc., a consulting firm providing a diverse array of services to corporate, public policy, and not-for-profit clients.

Ardently devoted to the cause of human freedom, he has worked at the confluence of politics, activism, and public policy for more than a decade. He co-wrote a ten-part series of video shorts on economics, and has film credits as a researcher on 11 political documentaries, including Citizens United's notorious film on Hillary Clinton that became the subject of a landmark Supreme Court decision. He is the founder of several activist endeavors, including (now a part of Western Free Press) and He is currently the managing editor of and principal contributor to
Christopher Cook

Heritage catches unions in right-to-work lie