Notre Dame's Father Keller: "A Defense of Voluntary Unionism"

Often in the battle for media attention, the moral argument for Right to Work laws can be lost.  As a reminder, here are but a few quotes from the late Notre Dame Professor Father Edward A. Keller, C.S.C.:

Right-to-Work in the American sense means that any worker, having the necessary qualifications, has the opportunity to seek work for whom he wishes, where he wishes and without undue interference. Because normally, a job is necessary for livelihood and therefore necessary for life itself, right to work is simply the extension of the inalienable right to life as announced in the Declaration of Independence.

“Right-to-Work” laws, therefore, do not pretend to create work or give a right to an actual job; these laws seek merely to protect the constitutional and natural right to work from the restriction of compulsory union membership, which restricts the exercise of the right to work only to members of a union.

It should be emphasized that the right not to join is a necessary corollary of the right to join, for without a right not to join there can be no such thing as a right to join. Freedom rests on choice, and where choice is denied freedom is destroyed as well.

Voluntarism is at the foundation of our Christian and constitutional heritage. To deny it in an area as broad and important as labor, could so weaken that foundation as to threaten all our cherished natural and constitutional rights. This would be “selling our heritage for a mess of pottage.”

— Excerpts taken from Father Keller’s Book: The Case for Right-to-Work Laws, A Defense of Voluntary Unionism (The Heritage Foundation, Inc., 1956).