I just (finally) got around to researching this line in the sand known as right to work, and I found this fascinating study. Basically, I kept silent because I wondered at the reasons RTW would help economically. The info in this study, and the case studies therein on Oklahoma and Idaho, helped not only make it make sense, but gave empirical examples of its success. I didn’t want to say anything until I knew the facts, and frankly I was too turned off by the democrats baby-crying on it to look before now. But since GiaQuinta, Moses, et al finally did the state the great honor of actually showing up and doing their jobs, I figured I’d do mine.
John W. Cooper’s study not only showed facts as well as they could be deciphered, but demonstrated how both sides could manipulate the data to their own advantage. He spotlighted other statistical surveys, noted their methodology, and drew his conclusions.
There is a net benefit in both hiring and new job creation for RTW states. There is also evidence that in at least one RTW state (Oklahoma) that union membership ROSE after RTW. This right here both gives the 2 main reasons FOR right to work and partially negates one of the reasons AGAINST it. The other main reason against it, the so-called free ride, is an unassailable fact. Under RTW, unions carry the bargaining load of those who opt-out. However, let me now be controversial in why I don’t give a crap about that.
#1- Wasn’t the original idea of labor bargaining about improving conditions for ALL workers? Somewhere along the line of legitimacy, unions developed the “I don’t care about the other guy” attitude that has resulted in “scabs” being injured, harassed, etc, for the crime of not being union. When you treat fellow workers, who are also just trying to earn a living, like that, you lose my sympathy.
#2- If the labor movement hadn’t become an arm of the Democratic party, no one would even care about RTW. Studies show that the percent of union dues going to political causes are 30% AND RISING. Given average dues of $120 a year, that means I’d have to donate $40 dollars a year to a cause unrelated to my job and against my principles.
#3- There was a 1988 court decision called the Beck decision that said that a union member cannot be forced to pay the portion of his dues that are earmarked for political contributions. This, if complied with by the unions, would be enough to silence MY objections. A study cited in Cooper said 32% of union employees disagree with the positions the unions support, so I think it is more than fair. But do the unions? From Cooper:
More recently, in 2001 the House Committee on Education and the Workforce’s Subcommittee on Workforce Protections heard a case on Mark Simpson’s experience with attempting to exercise his Beck rights. Mr. Simpson tells a very compelling tale. He starts out by saying he “used to be a union loyalist” and “was even a union shop steward” (Simpson). He then found out that some of his union dues were being used to support causes he did not believe in, so he tried to exercise his Beck rights. He gave notice to his union in June 2000 that he wanted to exercise his rights, and it took his union six months to respond to his request. Mr. Simpson testified that “Their response said that only 1.3% of their spending was eligible to be rebated. The other 98.7% were bargaining expenses, chargeable to me as agency shop fees even after my exercising my Beck rights. And if I didn't pay them, I was fired” (Simpson).
Big surprise- unions aren’t in the business of playing fair.
#4- The politicians in the union pockets. One woman legislator said after the vote (and I sure wish I’d have been paying attention so I could’ve got her name) to the effect of, I see know who will work with you and who won’t. I’ll remember this. Gee, lady, 8 republicans worked with you, how many Democrats crossed the fence? At the beginning of this I gave a sideways compliment to those who decided not to boycott the vote. But the fact of the matter is that the legislators who stayed the whole time, opened the floor to debate, and passed a good law, were certainly more mature and more professional that the ones that stood outside the chamber and whined, blindfolded their followers into believing that the whole thing was about strip-mining the unions, and tried to win their argument by throwing out the fire marshall’s safety ruling and packing the outside of the chamber with protesters and ringers to try to disrupt the legal rule of law.
I’m sorry that I didn’t speak up sooner, that I didn’t research sooner. But I didn’t want to color the decision I made by filtering it through the hopelessly dishonest hordes fighting against it, hordes that need to realize that IF they had ever been honest and EVER supported the RULE OF LAW vis-à-vis the Beck decision, NONE of this need ever have happened.