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The Fight for Union Dues Independence

This holiday weekend, we celebrate the birth of our great country. Two hundred and forty years ago, the United States adopted the Declaration of Independence and freed itself from the tyranny of the British Empire.

Stimulating the move to sever ties from the British included the Stamp Act of 1765, which taxed all printed paper used by Americans, along with the Sugar Act of 1764 and the Tea Act of 1773. Thus, it is no wonder why one of the “List of Grievances” in the Declaration of Independence and a reason for creating the United States was “For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent.”

But still after 240 years, 11 million workers are forced to pay union dues in this great country.

On this holiday, we should consider our roots and the tyrannous oppression faced by a population that would rank as the eighth largest state in America. So how can these workers be liberated?

The spreading of right-to-work legislation is the most feasible option. Currently, 26 states have right-to-work legislation for the private sector and 25 states with right to work in the public sector with another two states having limited right-to-work laws in the public sector, not to mention the Federal Government does not require workers to be forced into paying union dues.

Without this legislation, workers are forced to pay dues to a union they may not support and work under conditions they don’t want. This occurs because an overwhelming majority of workers never voted for the union that represents them. As the Center for Union Facts found, only 7.3% of employees actually voted for their union. Once a union is entrenched it is nearly impossible to remove. These onerous burdens on the workers recall the conditions of pre-revolutionary times when people were taxed without their voices and opinions heard.

At the heart of it, right-to-work is not anti-union legislation; instead it restores freedom to millions of workers who wish to work without forced dues. Right-to-work does not prohibit the freedom to associate; it just does not mandate union dues.

Currently, if a workplace holds a vote to unionize, the slimmest majority vote then forces every worker to be represented by the union. In states without right to work, this not only means union dues, but also that those workers are forced into a one-size-fits-all contract and are not free to negotiate their own terms of employment.

Furthermore, right-to-work legislation would make unions more accountable and responsive to its members. No longer would it have significant membership that disapproves of the union’s existence, yet are forced to pay dues. Rather, they would have a more active membership which they could better represent and those very members would be open to make decisions as to whether the union is meeting their expectations, or if their membership and dues are a waste of time and money.

The best option to resolve this unwanted unionization would be implementing policy that allows members-only unions in which only those who pay are represented and no one is forced to pay dues or accept a contract not of their choosing.

Altogether, today is a time to remember our forefathers’ intent to have the voice of the people heard and to free Americans from unwanted and burdensome taxes.