I love how liberals are “pro-choice,” unless, of course the “choice” is whether to join a union.
I also love how unionists complain when you use the term “union thugs,” and then when the political winds shift in a direction they don’t like, they behave like, well, thugs. If you don’t believe me just search the Internet for videos of union protesters in Michigan acting in a decidedly thuggish way. In one video, a union member, wearing his union jacket (a real Einstein, that one) physically assaulted Steven Crowder from Fox News as his fellow thugs tore down a tent belonging to Americans for Prosperity, a group that advocates for limited government, free markets and economic freedom, dirty words to leftists and unionists.
The furor was over the victory for freedom in Michigan when that state became the nation’s 24th right-to-work state in what can only be seen as a stunning defeat for unions in a very blue state and the home of the United Auto Workers. This union defeat comes on the heels of another public union defeat in Wisconsin and a month after an election in which Michigan voters soundly rejected a union-backed ballot proposal to enshrine collective bargaining in the state’s constitution.
Right to work is simply a law that prevents union security agreements. With the addition of Michigan, that means workers in 24 states can no longer be forced to join a union or pay union dues or agency fees. Another word for this is “freedom.”
This freedom is a substantive right all Americans should enjoy.
Unions exist because every human has a natural right of association, which is protected by the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment. However, along with the right of association there is a right to not associate. Similarly, the right to free speech also includes the right to remain silent; freedom of religion also means freedom from religion.
In other words, people have the right to join together in a common cause and call themselves a labor union. They do not, on the other hand, have the right to force others to join their group. The Michigan law simply protects workers from being coerced to associate with and pay fees to a group with whom they would rather not join.
Lawrence Reed, writing in the Detroit Free Press in 1995 when he was president of the Michigan-based Mackinac Center, said it best: Right-to-work “is not anti-union; it is purely and simply pro-choice. The only thing unions have to fear from right-to-work is the free choice of the very workers union leaders say they are in business to help.”
However, let’s be honest here. The union fight in Michigan and elsewhere — indeed, the basis of unions everywhere — has very little to do with the worker or the middle class and everything to do with pure, unadulterated power. After all, the largest contributor in the United States to politicians and political campaigns, not counting the political parties themselves, are unions. In order to maintain that level of political activism — and its corresponding political cronyism — unions need members. They want to use the force of law to coerce people to join their cause so they can funnel more money to politicians who protect union power.
Beyond freedom, right-to-work laws make economic sense. As the National Institute for Labor Relations Research pointed out, in 2011 the cost of living in states where forced union dues are permitted was nearly 20 percent higher than in right-to-work states. And right-to-work states more easily attract investment and jobs.
If you think the Michigan fight was bad, wait until 2013 when a right-to-work measure might appear on the Ohio ballot. Be prepared for the same kind of union lies and propaganda we saw during the Senate Bill 5 repeal fight in 2011.
If Ohio does not join the growing movement toward worker freedom, it could find itself losing jobs and investment to right-to-work states.
It’s time to put an end to the government-protected union menace and bring economic freedom and growth to workers everywhere.