Labor Pains: Because Being in a Union can be Painful

It’s Always Sunny In Right To Work States

Several states are right on Michigan’s heels as they push to become the 25th right-to-work state. Missouri may soon take the lead — Republicans have taken supermajority control in both houses and are looking to give workers the freedom to work without having to pay a union. They have also proposed a paycheck protection law.

But any bill to accomplish right-to-work legislatively would likely be blocked by Democratic Governor Jay Nixon. Nixon received $2.35 million from labor in his reelection bid this fall–almost 17 percent of all of his fundraising. Instead, Republicans are hoping to put right-to-work on the ballot and let voters decide.

At a committee hearing earlier this week, supporters and opponents alike came out to listen to testimony on the bill. Right-to-work opponents were uncharacteristically civil, though calling hard-working employees “free-riders” remains par for the course.

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, desperate claims were on the table as well:

Democrats argued there could be a wide variety of other economic factors that could cause a company to look elsewhere, including transportation infrastructure.

“They can’t narrow it down to right-to-work,” said Rep. Stephen Webber, D-Columbia, who cited warmer weather in southern right-to-work states as a reason jobs could move there.

Talk about grasping at straws. With all due respect to the Dakotas, Idaho, Michigan, and Indiana, we don’t think companies are moving to those right-to-work states to work on their tans. Although the facts show that right-to-work laws are beneficial, Democrats are worried that their perennial labor piggy bank will vanish. But going right-to-work does not mean that unions will disappear: In fact, Oklahoma actually gained union members in the past year despite a brutal for nationwide membership trend.

The difference is that in right-to-work states, unions need to earn the trust of their members by actually helping them out. Compare that to the postal unions, who would rather keep collecting dues of more members today and pass the buck on those employees’ pension plans. When the employees’ interest is not at heart, as was the case at Hostess, a lot of people wind up being out of work and far worse off.

Forced unionism, as “inclusive” as it is, still leaves many employees out in the cold, regardless of the climate.

Categories: Center for Union FactsRight-to-Work