The problem with compulsory unionization is simple enough: it is incompatible with a commitment to equal rights. Each of us has the right to form a union and bargain collectively; and each of us has the equal right to work union-free. The Constitution does not select one over the other.
The absurdity of the unionists’ demand for compulsory and collective workplace privilege becomes obvious when it is extended to any other third party: Should only members of the KKK hold government jobs? Should only Lutherans be permitted to teach your children? Should you be forced to join the NRA to keep your job and should your employer be forced to collect your membership dues? Should we have a federal agency devoted to increasing membership in the Crips? Should NOW membership be imposed in your workplace without a vote through Card Check? Should your wages be confiscated to fund the political campaigns of Freemasons?
There is only one way to guarantee the equal protection of the Constitution for everyone in the workplace - Right To Work.
In the 22 states that have already enacted RTW protections for their citizens, workers are free to join or not join a union as they see fit, and employers are not obligated to confiscate union dues from worker's pay. Worker Choice is not merely an economic policy; it is a matter of fundamental liberty that requires no defense. Humans must produce to live; the right to work is inseparable from the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Opponents of Right To Work must defend the indefensible proposition that you do not have the right to work. They must convince you that they have the right to prevent you from working; that they can force you to join their organization against your will, and dictate the terms of your employment. They must insist that they are entitled to force your employer to collect their dues without compensation for the service, and to discipline insurgent members on their behalf.
They believe their right of coercion is superior to your right not to be coerced. Where do they discover this right to coerce your fellow citizens? Show it to me. Is it found in the Constitution, the Bible, Koran, in the teachings of any prophet, or in the writings of any great philosopher? No, it is not.
What is their objection to open-shop rules, where employees are free to bargain collectively or not in their work place? If the union adds value, as it claims, employees will see this first hand and readily join. If union labor is superior, as it claims, employers will gladly choose to employ more of it. If unionism were in everyone’s best interest, as it claims, then everyone will choose it enthusiastically.
In fact, if unions would guarantee the quality, safety, and availability of their workforce, employers would have a powerful incentive to choose union labor exclusively. The more perfect union is the one which individuals are free to choose, not forced to join. If liberty offends, then let the unionists be offended.
But open-shop will never be acceptable to the unions, or their wholly owned subsidiary, the Democrat Party. Voluntary unionism is rejected by unionists for the same reason Muslim fundamentalists reject voluntary marriage - both the unionist and the lousy husband know that they could never win affection in competition, so they force subjugation instead. The suffering of others is of no concern to those lack empathy. Mob rule makes perfect sense to the mob.
Unions are acutely aware that their survival is completely dependent on State enforcement of their workplace monopoly. And like any monopoly, decades of insulation from choice and competition has produced institutional pathologies that have corrupted unionism from a once-worthy cause into a destructive force in the workplace. Where unions thrive, jobs die.
The deadly combination of unsustainable compensation growth and work-rule rigidity has destroyed whole industries in America - shipbuilding, textiles, appliances, furniture, electronics, steel, mining, automobiles, railroads, foundry, shoes, leather goods, airlines, and musical instruments come immediately to mind. Rejected by over 90% of workers in the private sector, unions have turned to organizing government and education – bankrupting the former and debasing the latter.
By contrast, the most vibrant economic sector over the past three decades – the tech sector – is the least unionized, the least regulated, the least bound by licensure, the least impacted by government meddling, the least subsidized, the least protected and the least bound by traditional labor relations tenets. This is no accident.
Prosperity is the gift of individual liberty, and bankruptcy is the reward for collective mediocrity; this is the lesson of economic history.
While prosperity cannot be legislated, the conditions that bring it about most certainly can be. Here in Wisconsin, the control of state government was taken away from liberal Democrats and given over to conservative Republicans this past November. The liberty coalition that flipped this state did not do so to win a sporting contest for a political party. We did so to change our economic trajectory and reaffirm our commitment to equal rights.
Do the Republicans understand why they were given back the reins of government across the industrial heartland? They can show us by enacting Right To Work – and not a moment too soon when they do.
“Moment Of Clarity” is a weekly commentary by Libertarian writer and speaker Tim Nerenz, Ph.D. Visit Tim’s website www.timnerenz.com to find your moment and order his new book, “Tooth Fairy Government.”