Consider the injustice of forced union dues

As you shop for back-to-school supplies for your kids or food for the Labor Day cookout, consider this: The clerks, shelf stockers, truck drivers, and factory workers who make that possible can all be legally forced to pay money to a union or else be fired.

Why? Because Pennsylvania is one of the 23 forced-unionism states in America. In your state, a union official can legally have a worker fired for not paying union dues or fees.

You are not alone if this sounds absurd. According to a national Gallup poll, nearly 8 out of 10 Americans agree: no worker should be forced to pay union dues as a condition of employment.

While the landmark Janus decision in June ended all compelled union payments for public sector workers, the private sector workforce in forced-unionism states can still be subjected to compulsory payments to union officials to keep their jobs.

Big Labor union bosses in Pennsylvania enjoy a special privilege that allows them to expand their ranks through compulsion. Union bosses can impose a monopoly bargaining contract, including a forced-dues clause that requires every employee (even the ones who reject union membership) to pay tribute to the union bosses, just for the privilege of having a job.

While forced unionism is just plain wrong, coercing workers into subsidizing union officials also holds back a state’s economy.

There are now 27 Right to Work states in America, with Kentucky joining the ranks last year. These states have passed laws to repeal Big Labor’s special power to force workers to pay them fees as a condition of employment.

The absence of forced unionism gives Right to Work states an economic leg-up.

According to a National Institute for Labor Relations Research (NILRR) report analyzing data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of individuals employed from 2007 to 2017 grew twice as rapidly in Right to Work states as in forced unionism states, 8.8% versus only 4.2% in states that permit a worker to be fired for not paying a union official.

Furthermore, the NILRR report found that once you adjusted for the cost of living, workers in Right to Work states averaged over $2,200 more in disposable personal income last year than their counterparts in forced unionism states.

NILRR also found that from 2007 to 2017, Right to Work states saw their aggregate population of people in their peak earning years (35-54) grow by 1.6 percent, even as the population for this demographic decreased by 7.4 percent in non-Right to Work states. This happened because workers and families moved to where the jobs and economic opportunity can be found.

The facts speak for themselves.

So it is no surprise that a growing number of states are eager to cast off Big Labor’s chokehold, free their workforce, and realize the economic opportunity a Right to Work law would bring.

That is why in recent years five new states – including Michigan, West Virginia, and Wisconsin – have joined the Right to Work ranks, freeing their workers from Big Labor’s forced unionism privilege.

Right to Work laws do not outlaw labor unions, and they do not prevent any worker from joining a labor union if they choose.

Right to Work laws simply codify one commonsense principle: Every worker should have the choice to join a labor union, but no worker should be forced to pay fees to a union as condition of employment.

So as you celebrate Labor Day, consider the benefits of Right to Work.

Consider your neighbor that might land a newly created job.

Consider the new manufacturing plant that might open its doors.

Consider what you might do with an extra $2,200 of spending power in your pocket.

Will your state be the next Right to Work state?

Mix is president of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation and the National Right to Work Committee.

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