Defending workers' freedom

Defending workers' freedom

May 15th, 2011 in Opinion Free Press

Tennessee and most of the states in the Southeast are "right-to-work" states. That means workers cannot be forced to join a union and pay dues to hold a job.

But Big Labor's influence in the Northeastern United States has historically been stronger. So that makes it all the more remarkable that the state of New Hampshire may be on track to free non-union workers from paying union dues involuntarily. In fact, New Hampshire could become the first Northeastern state that forbids unions to force unwilling workers to fund union activities.

New Hampshire lawmakers recently passed a right-to-work bill. The state's Democrat governor vetoed it, but both houses may well have enough votes to override the veto.

At present, workers in New Hampshire may - technically - choose not to join a union at their workplaces. But even if they want no part in the union and do not want it to negotiate with management on their behalf, they can be compelled to pay "fees" - which really just amount to dues by another name - to cover the costs of collective bargaining and the like.

That's unjust.

With union membership in the United States having plunged below 12 percent, it should be clear that most Americans have serious reservations about forming or joining unions.

Private-sector workers should have the right to peacefully organize unions if they wish. But union decisions should be by secret ballot - to prevent coercion of workers by Big Labor or management. And in no case should an unwilling worker be forced to fund the activities of a union that he chooses not to join.