Wednesday, February 23, 2011

More About Unions

Unions just seem to be topic of the week.  Right here in good, old Indiana, the Democratic legislators have taken a cue from the whack jobs in Wisconsin and gone on vacation.  This issue here is a little trickier than in Wisconsin, which is just a bunch of whining.  The fight is over a "right-to-work" legislation that Republicans want to push through.  Democrats don't like it because it hurts unions.  Ok, so far no surprises.  The question for me is what this proposed law actually says.  I'll show you what I mean.  Here's how the Wall Street Journal wrote it:

At issue in Indiana is a so-called right-to-work bill that would give members of private-sector unions the right to opt out of unions and not pay dues.
The right to opt out of unions?  I like rights.  That sounds good.  Did they not have that right before?  Who denied them that right?  On the surface this looks like a good thing.  Then I read this from both the Indianapolis Star and that bastion of quality journalism, USA Today:
[The legislation] bars a union and company from negotiating a contract that requires non-union members to pay fees for representation.
Barring?  I don't like barring.  That sounds bad.  It seems to me that the Republicans are engaging in a major PR cover-up here, masquerading their strictly anti-union bill as an expansion of liberty.  Of course, the Democrats aren't any better, because they're just throwing a little hissy fit because the bill hurts unions.

I'm not the biggest fan of unions, but there's nothing inherently wrong with them, as long as they play by the same rules as everybody else.  If a business wants to (or has to out of necessity) contract with a union agreeing it won't hire non-union folks, so be it.  I think it's a stupid idea, but sometimes that's what you need to do in business.  Barring certain kinds of contracts is not the way to make the state more competitive economically.

1 comment:

  1. In the U.S. some states (mostly southern states) have long been so-called "right to work" states, while in others states once a union is in place it is given the legal right to collect dues and speak for employees, including for those employees who did not vote it in.

    Here's a map;