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Thread: Please explain to me the pros and cons of "Right To Work"

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    Senior Member CathyA's Avatar
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    Please explain to me the pros and cons of "Right To Work"

    Can someone explain simply for me, the pros and cons of "Right To Work"?
    Thanks.

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    Simpleton Alan's Avatar
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    The pro of right-to-work laws is that it gives the worker the right to choose whether or not to be a member of a union. In a non RTW state, a worker at a unionized job location has to join the union or lose the job. So, if a union isn't doing much for the worker, they don't have the option of leaving it.

    I can't think of a con.
    "Things should be made as simple as possible, but not one bit simpler." ~ Albert Einstein

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    Senior Member CathyA's Avatar
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    Thanks Alan,
    Can you explain to me why each side seems to think they will lose money, going one way or the other?
    I understand that sometimes workers get screwed over by their employers when they aren't part of a union. So why would someone not want to join? Is it solely because they feel the dues aren't worth what they get from the union? Are some unions fairly unethical?
    In the city near here, the State House was going to vote on it, but the democrats went to another state, so that they wouldn't be able to vote on it. I'm just trying to understand all this.
    Do Republicans like Unions, and Democrats not?? (or vise versa)
    I think I need to go back to high school and pay attention this time!

    P.S. Some of the protestors have signs that say "Save the Middle Class"...........so what are they for?
    Last edited by CathyA; 2-23-11 at 9:41am.

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    When we were in high school we were being taught how wonderful the unions were back in the day because they overcame abuses by employers. In theory that still holds. However, these days there are abuses on both sides.

    IMO: Pro for RTW: I don't think it's ethical to force someone to join an organization they don't want to belong to in order to get a job.
    Con against RTW: If there is a union and you don't want to join, you may not be able to negotiate fair wages/benefits independently.

    One example I can think of in favor of unions is the companies that won't allow unions in: Wal-Mart, McDonalds. Note how they treat their employees.

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    Senior Member CathyA's Avatar
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    Thanks jan. One issue being brought up by the pro-union people is that if the RTW people don't pay dues, they will still benefit from what the union is doing for the work place.
    So if a state is unionized, does that mean Wal-Mart and McDonalds can't do business there?

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    Senior Member bae's Avatar
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    I don't really understand the whole RTW business. It seems to me that if a business and a union want to enter into a contract that says the business won't hire outside the union, non-participants in their mutual agreement don't have any standing to complain. It would be like Apple complaining if Lockheed entered into a sole-sourc agreement with Dell.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bae View Post
    I don't really understand the whole RTW business. It seems to me that if a business and a union want to enter into a contract that says the business won't hire outside the union, non-participants in their mutual agreement don't have any standing to complain. It would be like Apple complaining if Lockheed entered into a sole-sourc agreement with Dell.
    Its typically not a case of a business voluntarily entering into a contract with a union. The usual situation is a union getting certified to represent a given set of employees, based on a vote of the employees. The employer is then legally bound to negotiate "in good faith".

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    Senior Member bae's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LDAHL View Post
    Its typically not a case of a business voluntarily entering into a contract with a union.
    Well, if it is not voluntary, then I suspect immoral coercion is being used at some point in the process, and all bets are off.

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    here's an overview from Wikipedia on Right to Work, pros/cons, etc.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Right-to-work_law

    excerpts: (although I recommend reading the whole piece)

    as to definition: "Right-to-work laws are statutes enforced in twenty-two U.S. states, mostly in the southern or western U.S., allowed under provisions of the Taft-Hartley Act, which prohibit agreements between labor unions and employers making membership or payment of union dues or fees a condition of employment, either before or after hiring."

    Arguments For and Against:

    Arguments forProponents of right-to-work laws point to the Constitutional right to freedom of association, as well as the common-law principle of private ownership of property. They argue that workers should be free both to join unions and to refrain from joining unions, and for this reason sometimes refer to non-right-to-work states as "forced unionism" states.[2] They contend that it is wrong for unions to be able to agree with employers to include clauses in their union contracts (also known as a union security agreement) which require all employees to either join the union, or pay union dues as a condition of employment.[3] Furthermore, they contend that in certain cases forced union dues are used to support political causes, causes which some union members may oppose.[4]

    Unfortunately, it is difficult to analyze right-to-work laws by comparing states.[citation needed] This is because there are other differences between states that are strongly associated with right-to-work laws.[5] For instance, states with RTW laws have other pro-business laws, which makes it difficult to determine the effect of any single law.[5] According to some[citation needed] , this type of analysis may not be possible.[citation needed]

    A March 3, 2008 editorial in The Wall Street Journal compared Ohio to Texas and examined why "Texas is prospering while Ohio lags". According to the editorial, during the previous decade, while Ohio lost 10,400 jobs, Texas gained 1,615,000 new jobs. The article cites several reasons for the economic expansion in Texas, including the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the absence of a state income tax, and right-to-work laws.[6]

    [edit] Arguments againstOpponents argue right-to-work laws create a free-rider problem[7][8], in which non-union employees (who are bound by the terms of the union contract even though they are not members of the union) benefit from collective bargaining without paying union dues.[7][9]

    Opponents further argue that because unions are weakened by these laws, wages are lowered[10] and worker safety and health is endangered. For these reasons, they often refer to right-to-work states as "right to work for less" states[11] or "right-to-fire" states, and "non-right-to-work" states as "free collective bargaining" states. They also cite statistics from the United States Department of Labor showing, for example, that in 2003 the rate of workplace fatalities per 100,000 workers was highest in right-to-work states.[12]

    Business interests led by the Chamber of Commerce lobbied extensively for right-to-work legislation in the Southern states.[7][13][14][15] Critics from organized labor have argued since the late 1970s[16] that while the National Right to Work Committee purports to engage in grass-roots lobbying on behalf of the "little guy", the National Right to Work Committee was formed by a group of southern businessmen with the express purpose of fighting unions, and that they "added a few workers for the purpose of public relations."[17] They also argue that the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation has received millions of dollars in grants from foundations controlled by major U.S. industrialists like the New York based John M. Olin Foundation, Inc. which grew out of a family manufacturing business,[17][18][19] and other right wing groups.[16]

  10. #10
    Senior Member Miss Cellane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CathyA View Post
    Thanks jan. One issue being brought up by the pro-union people is that if the RTW people don't pay dues, they will still benefit from what the union is doing for the work place.
    So if a state is unionized, does that mean Wal-Mart and McDonalds can't do business there?
    One job I had was a state job and there was a union. However, employees had the option not to join the union. But the union was the official collective bargaining unit for all employees of a certain class at that worksite. So every year, union dues were automatically taken out of your paycheck. But if you didn't want to join the union, you could do the paperwork to get 75% of those dues back. The other 25% was a fee that you paid to the union to be your collective bargaining unit. The attitude was that there had to be a collective bargaining unit to negotiate contracts and for 1/3 of the employees at that worksite, this particular union was it. This was in the 1990s and I think the union dues were something like $65 a year.

    This was not in a right to work state.

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