Opinion: On Labor Day, consider injustice of forced union dues

SHARE Opinion: On Labor Day, consider injustice of forced union dues

Gov. Bruce Rauner has championed right-to-work laws in Illinois.

As you watch your children board the school bus for the first day back to classes, consider this: that school bus driver is likely forced to pay fees to a union as a condition of driving that bus.

Why?  Because he or she works in one of the 25 forced-unionism states in America; states where it is lawfully permissible to force a worker to pay fees to a union as a condition of employment.

You’re not alone if this sounds absurd. According to a recent Gallup poll, nearly 80 percent of your fellow Americans agree:  no worker should be forced to pay union fees as a condition of employment.


Big Labor union bosses in your state enjoy a special privilege allowing them to expand their ranks through compulsion. Union bosses can impose a monopoly bargaining contract which virtually always includes a forced-dues clause that requires every employee (even the ones who did not vote for the union) to pay tribute to the union bosses, just for the privilege of having a job.

While forced unionism is just plain wrong; coercing workers into subsidizing union officials also holds back a state’s economy.

With Wisconsin joining the ranks in March of this year, there are now 25 Right to Work states in America; states that have outlawed Big Labor union bosses’ ability to force workers to pay them fees as a condition of employment.

The absence of forced unionism gives Right to Work states an economic leg-up.

According to the National Institute for Labor Relations Research (NILRR), from 2004-2014, private-sector job growth was nearly twice as high in Right to Work states compared to non-Right to Work states (9.9 percent to 5.1 percent).

NILRR also reports that in 2014, workers in Right to Work states had on average two thousand dollars more to spend in actual, disposable personal income ($39,919 to $37,950).

Of course, the better economic climate might explain why NILRR reports that from 2003 to 2013, Right to Work sates saw resident population grow by more than five percent while non-Right to Work states suffered a four percent population decline.

The facts speak for themselves.

So it’s no surprise that a growing number of states are eager to cast off Big Labor’s chokehold, and free their workforce and realize the economic opportunity a Right to Work law would bring.

And that’s why in just the last three years, three former bastions of Big Labor; Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin, have passed Right to Work laws, freeing their workers from Big Labor’s ironclad grip.

Right to Work laws do not outlaw labor unions, and they do not prevent any worker from joining a labor union.

Right to Work laws simply codify one, commonsense principle: every worker should have the choice to join a labor union, but no worker should be forced to pay fees to a union as condition of employment.

So as you celebrate the coming three-day weekend, consider the benefits of Right to Work. Consider your unemployed neighbor that might find a job. Consider the new manufacturing plant that might open its doors. Consider what you might do with an extra $2,000 of spending power in your pocket.

Will your state be the next Right to Work state?

Mark Mix is president of the Washington-based National Right to Work Committee.

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