Let There Be a Clean Break Between Unions, Nonmembers

labor union

The editorial “House gets it mostly right on labor law” misses the mark.

The primary provision of the bill that the Globe finds sensible — allowing unions to “charge nonmembers if they use union services” — is not the best solution available to fix Massachusetts’ labor law. However, there is a sensible avenue to solve the purported free-rider problem: Eliminate exclusive representation. Exclusive-representation laws force union representation on unwilling individuals, just because a majority of their colleagues voted for it in the past. Nonmembers are compelled to work under a union contract, the contents of which they have no say in.

There is a better way. Legislation, which could please all sides, should make a clean break between the union and nonmembers. Nonmembers should be free to negotiate directly with their employer and find their own representation during grievance procedures. This way, unions provide services only to workers who are full-fledged dues-paying members.

It is past time to stop forcing union representation on workers and provide individuals the freedom to choose how they are represented at the workplace.

Originally published at the Boston Globe.