A recent report from the Detroit Free Press entitled “Embezzlement plagues union offices around U.S., records show” provides another reason why states should enact right-to-work laws, which free workers from paying forced union dues.
The story reports over 300 instances of embezzlement at union offices in the past two years. It discusses instances of massive amounts of stolen union funds. Theft at union offices is occurring in big cities and small towns all over the country. No group of workers were spared, with union offices representing nurses, teachers, electricians, plumbers, and others experiencing scandals involving misappropriation of funds.
A common theme in the article is that embezzlement doesn’t just happen at union locations. Businesses, nonprofits, and churches all suffer from cases of fraud and stolen funds. As Peter Henning, a former federal prosecutor, told the Free Press, “Unions are not unique… Another group hit hard by embezzlement are churches. You can’t train people to be ethical. It’s just access to money.”
However, there is one major difference between how labor unions operate and other entities.
Across the country, millions of workers are compelled to financially support a union that they do not support or want to represent them in the workplace. In states that allow forced union dues, workers who refuse to pay dues can be terminated. In other words, many workers have no choice but to pay for a union they don’t want, which increases their exposure to embezzlement at the risk of being fired.
While embezzlement at unions may not be more prevalent than at any other kind of organization, workers should not be forced to hand over their hard earned money to entities that experience so many instances of theft.
It may not be reasonable to expect unions to safeguard every single dollar they receive, but it is also unreasonable to force workers to fund unions they disagree with and don’t want representing them.
Widespread union corruption is just another reason why states should adopt right-to-work laws and free workers from forced union dues requirements.