Montana Legislators to Stand up for Workers — or Coercion

Rep. Jack Wells (R-Bozeman) and Sen. Greg Barkus (R-Kalispell) have introduced legislation in the Montana legislature to give workers in the state Right to Work protection. The bill would make it illegal to force someone to join a union as part of working at a union workplace. The bill has Big Labor activists up in arms, but it’s sad to see some Republicans join the opposition.

According to an Associated Press story in the Billings Gazette, Republican Public Service Commissioner Brad Molnar opposes worker protection, saying “workers covered by unions are not required to join the union,” — right so far — but he goes on to say, in effect, that if workers don’t pay dues or fees then they should be fired. In other words, Molnar supports taxing workers who choose not to join a union. ‘“Why wouldn’t you pay for that?’ he told the House Business and Labor Committee.” Because it punishes workers who exercise basic constitutional rights, Mr. Molnar.

Montana workers need protection from this type of abuse, but with Big Labor backed Democrat Gov. Brian Schweitzer opposing the legislation, enactment of the law this year is an uphill battle. The silver lining is that a roll-call vote on the bills will give Montana citizens a right to exercise their rights in 2008. Stay tuned for the list of those who will stand for freedom and those who will protect coercion.