When you head in to work tomorrow, take a look around you. Take a look at your fellow workers. Try to imagine for a moment how many of them are content with working there. Is it at least 7 in 10? If you currently work in a non-union workplace and just 1-in-3 of your fellow employees think starting a union is a good idea, they will soon be taking money out of your paycheck whether you join the union or not – and there will be nothing you – or the law – can do to stop them! On the contrary, the law will in fact, protect their right to do it!
The Michigan ballot proposal 2, a proposed amendment to the Michigan state Constitution is dubbed the ‘Protect Our Jobs‘ proposal. But perhaps it should be called the ‘Protect Our Mobs‘ proposal instead. The proposal was essentially started by a number of large union lobbies in response to the growing number of states adopting “Right to Work” legislation. In that many dub ‘Right to Work’ laws as ‘Union Busters’, the unions decided to make a pre-emptive strike by enshrining the right to unionize and collectively bargain in the state’s constitution, essentially forever banning ‘Right to Work’ in Michigan.
Well, that sounds great right? Protecting a worker’s right to organize? But workers already have a right to organize and Right-to-Work legislation cannot take that right away. Right-to-Work simply gives a worker the right to ‘opt-out’ of a union if they do not wish to belong to one. Now some of you more savvy civics students may be aware that due to the Taft-Hartley Act of 1947, workers already have the right to opt-out of unions if they so choose. So what’s the problem?
The problem results from two things. The first being a US Supreme court decision made in the case of Abood vs. the Detroit Board of Education from 1977, and the second a standard set by the National Labor Relations Board.
In the Abood case, the Supreme court ruled that an individual cannot be forced to pay for political costs associated with a union at his workplace if those political funds went to support causes that the employee himself did not support. Great right? But the case also upheld that an employee can be required to pay union dues even if he has no interest in joining the union, lacks a vote in said union, negotiates his contract independent of the union and receives no other benefits from the union. Not so great!
The briefs from Abood cite a number of reasons for the decision from ‘receiving benefits’ of collective bargaining to ‘promoting peaceful labor relations’ and stopping ‘free riders’. But suffice it to say, once unionized, employees who are not members of the union at a company can and are required to pay union dues.
The second issue is just what it takes to establish a union in the first place. If you aren’t part of a union shop now, Proposal 2 passing will only increase the likelihood that you soon will be by making union protections a front page issue and enshrining such organization as part of Michigan Constitutionally protected rights.
So just what does it take to start a union? Well, according to current policies with the National Labor Relations Board, (empowered by the National Labor Relations Act of 1935) “[the perspective union] must file a petition supported by a showing of interest from at least thirty percent of the employees in the group that the union seeks to represent, typically called the bargaining unit.” So, in other words, just 30% of the people working for a given company need to be interested in forming a union. That’s just under one in every three employees. Another way to put this is, that 3 out of every 10 employees of a company can require the other 7 to pay to support their desire to unionize.
Besides the fact this is only an attempt to stifle individual rights by blocking the right of individuals to opt out of union membership and mandatory dues withholding from their paychecks, this is law is also a blatant attempt at establishing ‘group rights’ and empowering large unions. I cannot make the suggestion strongly enough on just how this will kill Michigan jobs and take away individual choice.
Vote No on Proposal 2