America boasts of being the home of the free. But this freedom isn’t always as accessible as it should be.
Currently, only 25 states have right-to-work laws – which allow workers to opt out of union membership and dues – while the rest force employees into collective bargaining agreements.
While the Pelican State has been right-to-work since 1976, that hasn’t freed all Louisiana workers from the union grasp.
In a recent survey, 66.6 percent of Louisianans told National Employee Freedom Week (NEFW) they did not know they were free to withdraw their membership and stop paying dues to their union. This is no surprise since union executives are often not eager to share information regarding workers’ freedom to opt out in right-to-work states.
Not surprisingly, the survey also found that nearly 40 percent of Americans across the country hand over a chunk of their hard-earned paychecks to their union bosses without knowing they have other options.
That is why this week, from Sunday August 16 through Saturday August 22, NEFW– a nonpartisan coalition of both national and state-based organizations who educate workers’ of their rights – will be especially aggressive in its campaign to inform all of their workplace rights.
And along with that, here are a few points workers should consider before they continue turning over money to their union bosses:
- The goal of collective bargaining is to improve the workplace for its members, but many aren’t pleased with the results. It’s been reported that non-unionized workplaces often have higher wages and better job security than those engaged in collective bargaining. Even AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka admitted in a 2013 speech, “[Unions are] failing to meet the needs of America’s workers by every critical measure.”
- Unions are notorious for bankrolling the Democratic Party. Last presidential election cycle, 92 percent of union political spending was on Democrats, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. If you are a dedicated Democrat voter who doesn’t mind your dues being used to forward your union boss’s political interest, then this point may not concern you. However, Roper Center found Mitt Romney to be the candidate of choice by 40 percent of union households last cycle. It is more likely that many members would rather keep their dues money – which in some cases adds up to thousands annually – and spend it on what is of interest to themselves and their families.
- Union executives are often corrupt. Since 2001, labor leaders have been investigated and prosecuted by the Department of Labor’s Office of Labor-Management Standards for embezzling over $100 million in union dues, according to The Center for Union Facts.
- In Louisiana, public sector labor leaders recently blocked paycheck protection from making its way to the governor’s desk. Paycheck protection simply would have ended the practice of automatically deducting union dues from government employee paychecks and required unions to collect dues on their own. Dues would have been paid more like bills and less like payroll taxes, ultimately doing little more than making workers more aware of a union’s price in comparison to the services it provides. The unions in Louisiana clearly know they are not earning their keep and want to keep their members in the dark about it. Why else would they be so opposed to a more transparent dues collection process?
Given these points, it is no wonder unions are desperate to keep membership.
National Employee Freedom Week’s mission is to help unsatisfied workers find their way out, and they even have solutions for those in non-right-to-work states as well. This mission is necessary in the “home of the free” so workers can decide for themselves whether their contributions are doing more harm than good.