****That’s why, according to Economic Policy Institute data, workers in right to work states on average take home over $1,500 less per year than those in union shop states.****
Something happened in Indiana last week, besides the Super Bowl. And that was signing of Right to Work legislation.
Right to work is one of the greatest euphemisms of all time. On the surface, who can be against a right to work law? What right to work does, however, is take away workers’ union rights.
It basically outlaws negotiated union shop agreements.
Under right to work, a worker can chose whether or not to join a union at their workplace. On the surface, this sounds fair. Under a union shop agreement, every worker, after their probation is over, joins the union.
This is the arrangement at Mitsubishi and many other workplaces in Central Illinois. Why should someone be forced to join a union if they are not interested in belonging? But here’s the rub in the legislation and this is why labor opposes right to work laws.
Right to work laws require the union to provide full representation rights to every worker, whether they are a member or not. The non-member, who does not pay dues to support the organization, still gets any raises or benefits that come with the union contract. The non-member also gets full union representation rights.
A big thing in every union contract is the grievance procedure. If a worker feels they are being mistreated and the contract not being followed, they can file a grievance. The union, if the grievance has merit, takes that complaint to management.
If the two cannot agree, they go through an arbitration process, hiring an outside arbitrator to hear the case. A typical grievance can cost a union thousands of dollars, which comes from the members’ dues. The arbitrator is paid, sometimes outside legal counsel is used and union staff time is taken up with the grievance.
Under right to work, a non-member has the same access to the grievance process that a member has. The union is legally obligated by the right to work law to handle the non-members’ complaint, no matter the expense to the dues paying membership.
Also, because a work force is divided between members and non-members, the union is in a weaker bargaining position, unable to present a united front to management when negotiating. This erodes workers’ paychecks.
That’s why, according to Economic Policy Institute data, workers in right to work states on average take home over $1,500 less per year than those in union shop states.
A right to work might sound wonderful, but right to work laws have hidden costs. Don’t be fooled by the euphemism, but learn what this means.
This is Mike Matejka on WJBC’s Forum.
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