The Artfully Phrased Right to Work
The manner in which Michigan passed legislation this week is sickening. They bar the collection of union dues as a condition of employment. That sounds dandy because no one wants to pay for something they don’t want. However, who are the ones who don’t want it? Is it union members? Doubtful. Unions may have a bad rep for whatever reasons, but they serve as one of the few checks on corporate power over its employees. No one enjoys having to bargain with his or her boss for higher wages and benefits. When it is just one lone individual, he holds little power at the bargaining table. Unions bring everyone together under one tent to fight together. It’s easy for corporations to let one person go and still carry on business. It’s a lot scarier when the possibility of all work coming to a halt is on the horizon. I would like to meet the individuals who were offered union jobs and declined because they didn’t want to pay union dues. They aren’t out there. And if they are in fact out there, they are ignorant because the only reason they are being paid so well is because there is a union there. The facts don’t lie. Union workers make more money.
What right to work laws do is give employees the option of opting out of paying dues to the union that has negotiated on their behalf. They think to themselves that by opting out they will make more money. As more and more employees opt out, the strength of the union dwindles as does employee pay. It took the Michigan legislature a week to pass legislation in both the state house and senate. Hardly enough time to publicly debate the issue. On top of that, they added the right to work law inside an appropriation bill so that a public referendum on the law couldn’t repeal it. This is just one more example of the corporate world wanting to pay less and less to their employees. The fact that the right wing advocates such laws shouldn’t be surprising. The way they word the damn thing is straight out of a business advertising school. Who wouldn’t want a right-to-work? The public doesn’t look into what it really is and takes the phrase hook line and sinker.