UAW Members Should Thank Right to Work

National Right to Work President Mark MixFrom National Right to Work Committee President Mark Mix’s Detroit News Labor Day Commentary:

Big Labor’s wild claims about right-to-work laws have always been off the mark.

Unions continue to exist — and, in many cases, thrive — in states that ensure no worker can be forced to pay dues as a condition of employment. Moreover, union officials in right to work states actually have to justify their policies and expenditures to employees, who can leave a union and withdraw their financial support at any time.

In short, right-to-work laws bring union accountability to the workplace.

If union officials can force employees to pay dues just to get or keep a job, they have little incentive to listen to workers’ feedback and adjust their policies accordingly.

In states without right-to-work laws, union officials can negotiate a forced-dues clause that covers all employees in a bargaining unit if they win support from a plurality of those voting. Once that contract is signed, it’s extremely difficult to eject an unwanted union, even if workers become disillusioned with their representation.  Meanwhile, employees can be forced to pay dues or fees for the duration of the contract.

However, union officials quickly become more responsive if workers have the right to leave a union and stop paying dues at any time. Recent polling shows that 80 percent of rank-and-file union members support the right-to-work principle, which suggests that even the most committed union supporters recognize this fact.

The UAW’s recent leadership change is a case in point. Under former president Bob King, the UAW spent members’ dues on a variety of schemes that had little to do with improving Michigan autoworkers’ wages or working conditions. King pushed a reported five million dollar campaign to unionize VW’s Chattanooga auto plant which failed when the workers voted in a secret-ballot election. He vocally supported President Barack Obama’s controversial healthcare overhaul, which now is derided by top union officials, while promoting greater ties to foreign unions and radical labor activists.

Whatever the merits of his political views, King’s ambitions outside the workplace had very little to do with the concerns of UAW members whose money he was using to push them. Now, with contract negotiations for the Big 3 automakers coming to a head, UAW leadership are talking more about what is happening in the workplace, including their goal of eliminating the unpopular two-tier wage system. … [Click Here to Read the full commentary]