How can anyone oppose 'right to work?'

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by classicaliberal, Dec 11, 2012.

  1. macrumors regular

    classicaliberal

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2011
    #1
    At the foundation of the argument in Michigan right now is the freedom of association. The freedom of association basically says that individuals should be free (not prohibited from) to associate with each other, to ban together for a common purpose and defend a common goal or value as they so please.

    I'd go further and suggest that the ying to that yang is also that the government or any private entity (unions) can equally not compel or force a free individual into such an association with others simply because of a job they hold, etc.

    The pro-union opponents of 'right to work' (which essentially states that employees are free to work for a company without being forced to join in a private union which other employees happen to belong to) seem to be suggesting that people, individuals, workers, should not have freedom... that the should be coerced/forced into union membership against their own wishes.

    I'm looking for a valid reasonable explanation from someone on the other side as to why free individuals shouldn't have the choice of whether or not to join a union. I'm seeking to better understand the alternative view. Thank you in advance.
     
  2. macrumors 68000

    hulugu

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2003
    Location:
    the faraway towns
    #2
    This thread isn't going to go anywhere because of the incredibly biased framing of the initial argument.
     
  3. macrumors Penryn

    rdowns

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2003
    #3
    For starters…


    On average, workers in states with “Right to Work” law earn $5,538 a year less than workers in states without these laws.

    Right-to-Work states spend $2,671 less per pupil on elementary and secondary education than free-bargaining states.

    According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the rate of workplace deaths is 52.9% higher in states with Right-to-Work laws.
     
  4. thread starter macrumors regular

    classicaliberal

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2011
    #4
    I'm hoping others will frame it from their own perspective and provide a valid counterpoint.

    Like I said... "I'm looking for a valid reasonable explanation from someone on the other side as to why free individuals shouldn't have the choice of whether or not to join a union. I'm seeking to better understand the alternative view. Thank you in advance."

    ----------

    Not trying to be snarky here... rather just to understand your line of reasoning. You seem to be implying that freedoms should/can be invalidated if sufficient evidence can be supplied proving that the elimination of said freedom results in a positive net effect on society. Is this correct?

    So, under similar reasoning... if I could prove that eliminating freedom of speech for example, has a positive effect on income, or measurably reduces bigotry/racism in a society, you'd come to the conclusion that such freedoms are ripe for elimination?
     
  5. hulugu, Dec 11, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2012

    macrumors 68000

    hulugu

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2003
    Location:
    the faraway towns
    #5
    Remove everything by the bolded section and I'll rescind my criticism.


    That said, the primary reason to require people to join and pay union dues in because contracts require the union to defend and represent people in the profession regardless of their membership or their lack of dues. It's a classic free-rider problem.

    Second, the reason I object to your framing is because it's flawed. A person has the freedom to choose to work in Michigan, as a steel worker in a closed shop. These are choices. Framing union membership as an attack against freedom to assemble is like arguing that a NDA clause attacks freedom of speech.
     
  6. macrumors Penryn

    rdowns

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2003
    #6
    My line of reasoning is we have let business become way too powerful in this country and these so-called "right-to-work" laws are nothing more than a handout to business in the form of lower wages, not to mention less tax revenues for the affected states.
     
  7. macrumors G4

    skunk

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2002
    Location:
    Republic of Ukistan
    #7
    I'm not sure what the problem is here: over here, we can choose, at least in theory.

     
  8. DakotaGuy, Dec 11, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2012

    macrumors 68040

    DakotaGuy

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2002
    Location:
    South Dakota, USA
    #8
    I live in a Right to Work State and I do belong to an Association. We call them associations here, not unions. Anyhow while the association does work to negotiate wages and benefits there is no binding arbitration. We can't legally strike and the only way we could strike is if everyone calls in sick, but you better not be seen out in public or you will be fired.

    Anyhow I wouldn't be so quick to think that the $2,671 is actually going into each student to improve that student's education experience, most of that increase is going into higher teacher salary. Now of course we all want better salary for teachers in some of the poorer states, however there is no correlation between teacher salary and student achievement. Some of the States that pay their teachers the worse have the highest test scores and vise versa.

    With that said, I could care less about what happens in Michigan. My guess is as time goes on we will see more and more States become Right to Work.
     
  9. thread starter macrumors regular

    classicaliberal

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2011
    #9
    If I rescinded everything else, you would be left with a question without any parameters. The bolded section referenced my desire to hear an 'alternative view'... As I'm sure you're aware, in order to have an alternative view, there must be an initial view to be compared and contrasted against.
     
  10. macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2008
    Location:
    Manhattan
    #10
    The Right to Work laws are a union busting maneuver. Historically, companies have intimidated workers quite harshly into not joining unions. If enough people drop out, then the union cannot represent all workers and collective bargaining isn't possible. A worker who does not wish to join a union is free to pursue a job at a non-union organization. Even unionized workplaces have non-union positions.
     
  11. macrumors 68000

    hulugu

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2003
    Location:
    the faraway towns
    #11
    You've tried to narrow the discussion into a corner when starting with talking about the right to assemble, which makes your argument really easy, but doesn't really tell us much about the social or political consequences of "right-to-work" statutes.

    You'd be better off talking about the facts on the ground, the history of the union vs. closed shops and the National Labor Relations Act.

    In other words, what's the context of union shops and how does a right-to-work law fix the problem.

    Instead, you nailed everything to the First Amendment, a rhetorical bunker that people either wade up to (and get chopped into kindling) or, like me, have to bomb the whole hillside just to get at you.

    That said, I think we should probably let this argument go, steer it to another thread, or discuss it via private messages.
     
  12. AhmedFaisal, Dec 11, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 11, 2013

    Guest

  13. macrumors P6

    Peace

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2005
    Location:
    Space--The ONLY Frontier
  14. macrumors 65816

    citizenzen

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2010
    #14
    Sure. Provide the data and let's talk about it.

    We do not live 100% free lives. We already restrict certain freedoms that are deemed harmful to society. So if you've found a freedom we currently enjoy, that if taken away would quantifiably benefit society, why shouldn't we consider restricting it?
     
  15. macrumors 68000

    NickZac

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2010
    #15
    Union fees can be quite large, and while employers have intimidated employees to not join unions, unions have intimidated employees who refuse to join them as well. There is some debate regarding if right-to-work is pro-business or not...I've not seen anything that says it either way definitively. I think the problem with this is that different occupations have different needs for negotiations. Certain sectors simply do not need collective bargaining power and so they may not be affected. The problem then, is that then there are sectors that do need it, and theoretically these others may be affected disproportionately and have not been adequately assessed.
     
  16. macrumors P6

    iJohnHenry

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2008
    Location:
    On tenterhooks
    #16
    QFT. Not even in the ballpark of 100%.

    If something is harmful only to you, do you deem that harmful to Society?

    Because being a Mountain Man is no longer a viable option.
     
  17. macrumors 65816

    citizenzen

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2010
    #17
    If something were only harmful to me, then how could you quantify a benefit to society by restricting that freedom?

    Tangentially ...

    Conservatives claim that allowing gays to marry will harm traditional marriage and therefore would restrict the freedom of consenting adults to marry who they wish to marry.

    If they could prove and quantify that harm, then it might sway others like myself to likewise advocate against gay marriage. However, there is (as yet) no provable harm to society.

    There is nothing wrong with restricting personal freedom, unless that restriction is based on nothing more than fantasy, whim or bias.
     
  18. macrumors G3

    Huntn

    Joined:
    May 5, 2008
    Location:
    The Misty Mountains
    #18
    I love how negatives laws are draped with positive words, a conservative specialty... <sarcasm>

    It should be called the "right to work for less, you don't deserve it, they do" law. ;)
     
  19. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2011
    #19
    Except this is in America. Isn't America sort of all about personal freedom? Plenty of countries limit personal freedoms to varying results, but America was founded specifically to avoid that. So how can we say that we love America for its freedom, but by the way any personal freedom is up for grabs as long as limiting it is beneficial to society as a whole?

    I'd like to point out that right to work laws don't abolish unions, they only make it optional to join. Having the option to join something and pay dues to it seems pretty logical to me. Yes, it's possible that by not joining a union you will make less and the union will have less power, but at least you've got a choice.
     
  20. macrumors 65816

    citizenzen

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2010
    #20
    No.

    In the United States there are and have been numerous ways personal freedom has been restricted for the sake of society.
     
  21. macrumors demi-god

    LethalWolfe

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #21
    FWIW the Constitution starts off with "We the People..." and there always has been, and will be, a line to walk between personal freedoms and what concessions have to be made to live as part of a society. We all have a right to express our ideas freely in America but we have drawn a line at expressions that create a clear and present danger (ex. falsely yelling 'fire' in a crowded theater).

    If you want truly unbridled personal freedom you'll have buy your own private island and break off from society completely.
     
  22. Guest

    eric/

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2011
    Location:
    Ohio, United States
    #22
    Maybe those states spend their funds more efficiently?


    What are the # of deaths, and what are the differences in causes?
     
  23. macrumors 68000

    hulugu

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2003
    Location:
    the faraway towns
    #23
    This is a fair post. Economically speaking, the benefit for such laws is pretty marginal and we know it drives down wages.

    This is why I object to classicalliberal's entire framing. Currently, the law under the NRLA allows union shops to charge a fee to people who do not want to join a union, but who will be covered by union protections. Essentially, it's insurance and the "right to work" allows for free-riders to come into union shops and work without paying the dues necessary to keep the union going. Of course, people naturally don't want to pay dues if they still get the benefits, so the union ends up with dwindling resources to cover the same employees.

    Overall, RTW laws do very little to keep people out the union, but they can damage the ability for unions to bargain effectively and make it very difficult for new unions to form.

    Moreover, the biggest drop in union membership tends to happen in the first five years, which helps identify why Michigan suddenly decided this was necessary. They're trying to lay ground work for the next election.

    It's not a freedom vs. collectivism argument, that's a crap analogy and we should reject it. Rather, it's whether or not people should be able to get a free ride on the back of the union and why companies spend so much time trying to disrupt or otherwise attack unions rather than deal with them directly.
     
  24. Guest

    eric/

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2011
    Location:
    Ohio, United States
    #24
    We should look to increase our freedom, provided we don't harm others, should we not?

    Well, it needs to be understood that this restriction is utilitarian, and arbitrary.

    Because we should work to increase freedom.

    I'm in favor of unions, and I'm in favor of right to work, because I'm in favor of voluntary association between individuals to determine contracts. I think unions are a great thing, although they aren't that great in the US, but I am not anti-corporation/manager/business, since you need not be to be pro-union.

    ----------

    Why does RTW damage the ability of the unions to bargain effectively?

    And before you say "they can just bring in whoever", keep in mind that work force turnover would be an extreme cost and loss in production and efficiency. We're not China where you can just bring in 100 more people to screw on Barbie Doll heads.
     
  25. macrumors 68000

    hulugu

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2003
    Location:
    the faraway towns
    #25
    That's why it's so insidious. Rather than strike-breaking by hiring a new workforce of "scabs" the company can go to individual employees and "suggest" that they abandon the union and ensure that new hires are convinced that the union isn't something they should join.

    Again, I would argue that joining a union because you're working in a steel shop is like signing an NDA or a non-compete clause. These mitigate freedom too, but I don't see a big rush by conservatives to question either of those.
    In some unions, the structure allows for a better pathway from unskilled laborer to apprentice to skilled worker, in a fashion that would be tougher without the structure (and agreements) inherent to a unionized labor force.
     

Share This Page