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  Comments (2) Total Wednesday Apr. 23, 2014
Right to Work
Two for Thought

By John Fuller

Montana is in the top five! The top five of those states that have the strongest labor unions, that is.

Labor unions have extraordinary influence on governmental and economic policies in the Treasure State. (Full disclosure: this writer spent 42 years as a member of the National Education Association and local teachers’ unions).

Supporters of unions claim they are necessary to protect the rights, incomes and a “level bargaining field” for the individual worker and are necessary to prevent parasitic “free riders.”

But times have changed and the power and influence of labor unions is now more detrimental than beneficial to all Montanans.

Unions function as labor cartels, restricting the number of workers. They benefit their members, but hurt consumers.

Unions decrease the numbers of jobs in the economy, and they have the same effect on business investment as does a 33-percentage point corporate income tax increase.

They slow economic recovery, resist reform in public sector services and hamper economic efficiency.

The objective evidence is overwhelming; labor unions do more harm than good. “Freedom of choice” should mean more than the right to kill unborn babies, it should mean the right NOT to join a union.
By Joe Carbonari

It is easier to control an individual than a group. The larger the group, the harder it is to control it.

Right to work legislation isn’t about the right to work, it’s about how workplace power is shared.

Individually, workers have very little power. Banded together, in union, their power is increased.

The degree of their solidarity is key.

Diminishing that solidarity leads to a lessening of power, and hence, of wages and working conditions, especially when workers lack mobility. More power and flexibility accrues to the owner, less remains with the worker.

In sclerotic economic conditions this form of “creative destruction” is tempting, but it comes at a price paid largely by the worker.

That’s one dimension – the classic one. Today’s version turns more on political power. From the many, in small drips, as a portion of their union dues, comes a significant stream of political money, enough to affect, on the margin, political discourse and outcome.

For some good, others bad. The basic question: Is it right that a worker should be forced to pay dues that go in part to people and causes that he/she personally does not support?

I don’t think so. Is right to work legislation the proper tool with which to work? No way. Let’s use a scalpel, not a hatchet – and carefully.

Send feedback to twoforthought@flatheadbeacon.com.
On 01-02-13, reggie commented....
Silly me, of course union dues can be used for political campaigns now; how could I have forgotten the “Citizens United” partisan supreme court decision that unleashed all the (undisclosed) money corporations can spend on elections? The court, in a fig leaf gesture, allowed unions…
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