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Indiana just got done with a contentious battle over become a Right to Work state, and as with any controversial piece of legislation there was a lot of hysteria that circulated around it. But one of the things that I think is continually lost is that the law is a protection of the worker. It's not a protection of the union or the union leadership, certainly. But here's the simple truth: Right to Work is born of the same philosophy that first sparked union development.
I know it sounds weird, but think about it. The purpose of a union is to protect the worker from the abuses and exploitation of management. You know, where the management knew the worker had no choice but to accept the dictates, the requirements, the positions set forth by management. But what happens when the unions grow so powerful that they themselves can begin forcibly taking the worker's dues without his consent? What happens when the worker has no power to oppose the dictates and requirements of the union management? That's what Right to Work does.
Now, here's the best part: you hear forced union activists argue, "The worker has freedom as it is! If they don't like having to pay dues, they know coming into the shop that it's a union shop! If they don't like it, they can go work somewhere else."
Hmmm. Now what does that sound like? Kind of sounds like, "If my workers don't like their wages, their hours, their conditions, they don't have to work here! They can go find another job!" Funny how the same union management and union apologists who decried that philosophy of management now uses the same argument to compel the worker to give dues to a union management they don't believe in.
If you're paying attention, there has been some very interesting testimony going on at the House Oversight Committee in Washington on these exploitations of workers by unions. The Committee has released video of three workers that are worth checking out. When you watch them, you start to understand the need for accountability for these unions:
The first video features Terry Bowman, a Ford assembly-line worker who spoke out before the House Oversight Committee about union leaders taking his dues in order to fund partisan politics that directly contradict his personal beliefs:
The second video features Claire Waites, a teacher from Daphne, AL., who joined the local teachers union to obtain liability insurance.
However, in order to obtain coverage, she was forced to remain a union member. Waites reported at a recent Oversight hearing that her union pressured her to contribute to a "children's fund" that was actually a slush fund used to finance special interest groups and union agendas.
The third video features Sally Coomer of Duvall, WA., who is a homecare worker of her disabled adult daughter. Under the current law, she is forced to become a member of the SEIU, according to the Oversight committee.
"As a member, $95 a month is taken for union dues, which go to fund causes she does not support. That $95 could provide an additional 9 to 10 hours of care for her daughter," the committee reports.
"I wrote about this last November, when both Michigan and Minnesota tried to extend this forced-unionism into day-care operations as well as home-care situations," writes Ed Morrissey of Hot Air.
"There is no reason to force parents who receive Medicaid to care for developmentally-disabled children into unions, except to pick their pockets for the benefit of union bosses and political parties. It's positively ghoulish, as I wrote at the time, and only the efforts of Republican-controlled legislatures in both states kept them from forcing babysitters into unions," he adds.
These are but three examples of the growing problem associated with forced unionization. And every argument the unions once used in defense of the worker from the abuse of management are the precise arguments used now in defense of the worker from the abuse of union management. If unions demonstrate to workers they have their best interest in mind, they will continue to prosper, grow and wield great influence (check out the power of the Indiana State Teachers Association - teachers have been right to work since 1995). If they aren't working on behalf of the worker, but for their own sake, the worker now has a method to hold them accountable. That's a good thing.