Pro-Organized Labor Law Professor Eviscerates
To justify their opposition to Right to Work laws and their
support for compulsory union financial support, union officials and their
allies invoke, time and again, Section 9(a) of the National Labor Relations Act
and parallel provisions in other federal statutes and state statutes.
Section 9(a) authorizes and promotes control by a single
union over all workers in a unionized business or other “bargaining unit.”
Under Section 9(a), as one scholar has explained, unions
“become the exclusive (monopoly) bargaining agents of all workers in the unit,
whether individuals agree or not. Individuals are even forbidden to represent
Human Workers ‘Are Not Interchangeable Numbers In a Bank
One simple and obvious response to the union hierarchy’s
demand for forced union dues and fees is to advocate repeal of Section 9(a) and
other labor-law provisions of its ilk, and their replacement with provisions
establishing that unions would represent their members only.
This is indeed the National Right to Work Committee’s
Big Labor’s case for compulsory union financial support is
It ignores the plain fact that human workers “are not
interchangeable numbers in a bank account.”
Indeed, Aaron Tang, a California law professor who fervently
supports monopolistic unionism, used those exact words to dismiss the “union
benefit” or “free rider” claim in a 2018 contribution to the Harvard Law
Award-Winning Teacher Could Likely Have Earned More
Without a Union
Professor Tang rejected Harvard law professor and former
union lawyer Ben Sachs’s far-fetched assumption that the fact that some
employees benefit economically from being subject to union monopoly control
somehow implies that all employees benefit.
To illustrate the point, Mr. Tang cited the case of Sean
McComb, a “Baltimore English teacher who was named National Teacher of the Year
in 2014” at the age of 30.
“As a then-eighth year teacher with a master’s degree,”
noted Mr. Tang, Mr. McComb “earned an annual salary of $65,663 courtesy of the
lockstep salary schedule negotiated” by teacher union bosses in Baltimore
Had no union wielded monopoly control over Baltimore County
schools, and had Mr. McComb “been free to negotiate an employment contract with
the school district individually,” it is easy to imagine he would have earned
as much or “more, given the higher salaries paid to less decorated teachers in
National Right to Work Committee Vice President Matthew Leen
“As gifted as he undoubtedly is, Aaron Tang, a former law
clerk of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, is no friend of the
individual employee’s freedom of choice.
“As he makes plain in the very journal forum in which he
eviscerates the ‘union benefit’ canard as formulated by Mr. Sachs, Mr. Tang
supports the expansion of so-called ‘exclusive union representation,’ even
though he understands perfectly well how it harms talented and conscientious
Forced-Unionism Advocates Can’t Explain Why Union Dons
Merit Special Privileges
Mr. Leen continued:
“Because federal law and the laws of many states empower
union bosses to force their representation on workers who don’t want a union,
Big Labor apologists contend, union bosses also ought to be legally empowered
to compel unwilling workers to pay union dues or fees.
“Ever since the Right to Work challenge to compulsory union
membership and dues and fees emerged during the early 1940’s, this cockamamie
‘union benefit’ argument has been the mainstay of opponents of voluntary
“Most people inside and outside academia who share Mr.
Tang’s collectivist ideology try to sidestep the question of why Big Labor
should be granted what amounts to taxation power over workers by denying that
forced union dues and fees are a special privilege.
“Aaron Tang is honest enough to admit the truth, while
suggesting union bosses should still be specially privileged because it’s in
the public interest for unions to be powerful.
“But which genuine interests of society as a whole or
workers in particular are advanced by unions that have the power to deny a
worker the ability to negotiate his or her own contract even if the worker
could get paid more that way? I submit the answer is, ‘None.’”