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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Michigan And Right To Work

I am not quite sure what the uproar is all about. To me this seems like a pretty easy one. If I work at a company and there is a union in place, shouldn't I get to decide whether or not I want to be part of said union?

I remember when I was a very young worker. Going to school and working a menial retail job for minimum wage. I had a discussion one day with an older person that was in an union. Granted, I was very ignorant of how unions worked, I just knew my dad was a longtime UAW worker.

When this older worker began discussing his union dues, I was intrigued.

"So you have to pay to be in the union?" I asked.

"Of course," was his reply, "they collect the dues out of each of my paychecks."

Even at a very young age (18 or 19 at the time), I was already getting a bad taste in my mouth about unions. After all, my father was full of stories about guys that didn't pull their weight, but that the union supported. Or guys getting fired for getting into fist fights, only to have the union get them reinstated a few weeks later.

But still there was something deep inside of me that thought that unions were altruistic. That they had nothing but the good of the worker at their heart. So this idea of paying to be in the union struck me as counter to that. I mean, shouldn't the union reps, who are employees themselves, just collect their normal pay for the representation they provide?

"What do they do with that money?" I asked, flabbergasted.

"Well, as far as I can tell, my union bosses get a large chunk of it. And what they don't take usually goes towards political action to get people I don't support elected to office."

Now I was really disgusted. After all, while definitely not anti-union (yet) I was a staunch supporter of Republicans. I had proudly voted for George Bush Sr over Mike Dukakis in 1988. My first presidential vote. Gun rights and pro-life were my main voting issues. I was just beginning to test the waters of fiscal politics.

While fiscal politics were new to me, I knew that I was against things like welfare. In my opinion that rewarded people for being lazy.Something I was also learning about unions.

"Well, in that case, I just wouldn't join the union." I said proudly.

"You can't do that. One of the requirements of employment at a union shop is that you have to join the union."

Now I was incensed. This had to be a joke. As my mind was scrambling at this idea I had to get clarity.

"So you HAVE to join the union to work at a union shop even if you don't like what the union stands for?" I asked incredulously.

"That's right. You don't have to be in a union, but to not be in the union you can't work at a union shop. So if you plan on being an hourly Ford Motor Company worker, you have to be in the UAW. Don't like the UAW and don't want to be a member? Well then you can't work as an hourly Ford employee. Crazy isn't it?"

Even at very young age this seemed very very wrong to me. To me it was a fundamental right to be able to work as an independent worker and not be part of a union if I so chose. Learning that it didn't work that way infuriated me.

In the years since then I have come to loathe unions. I have discovered that the worker isn't what they are working for. Most union leaders do it for the extra money they make despite doing less work. Most of the money that unions collect are funneled to the campaigns of liberal Democrat candidates. They have become nothing but political action organization as nefarious as the companies they claim to be fighting.

When I first heard about Right To Work I felt like this needed to happen. This needed to right the wrong I learned about so many years ago. Liberals are supposed to be "pro-choice". When you are talking about the choice to murder innocent humans in the womb, they are for choice. Talk about being able to pick your child's school regardless of residency, or being able to turn down union membership to work at a union shop and suddenly they become fascists.

The fact that unions are so dead set against allowing people to choose membership or not proves how little value they supply to the worker. If their service to the worker was so wonderful, who wouldn't choose to be part of the union? At the end of the day, unions don't want to be held accountable, and that is exactly what Right To Work will do: hold them accountable.

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