Sunday, April 20, 2014

Compulsory Unionism vs. Right to Work

Written on March 29th, 2012

   Through the National Labor Relations Act, states can administer Compulsory Unionism laws, which permit a workplace to fire an employee if he or she does not join the union which the employer has given authorization to exclusively represent laborers in negotiations with the employer. These laws also permit such unions to sue competing unions out of existence, whether they are more moderate or more radical in their demands.

   Through the Taft-Hartley Act, states can administer Right-to-Work laws, which prohibit employers and unions from colluding to require employees to join unions and / or pay dues as a condition of hiring or continued employment, and permit alternative unions to compete against well-established unions to represent workers.

   Proponents of Compulsory Unionism are apt to characterize laborers who do not pay dues to unions but continue to work as free-riders. Although the passage of Right-to-Work laws may have a negative effect on the extent of unionized employment, their passage has caused short-term increases in unionized employment.

   Legal recognition of particular unions’ exclusive rights to represent workers in negotiations with management limits the range of acceptable association between workers. It creates impediments to strikes, undermines the influence of small and new unions, and increases artificial scarcity in the labor market through the imposition of wage controls and licensing standards.

   Compulsory Unionism also increases the risk of conspiracies between agencies of government, capital, and labor to extract more taxes, profit, and dues from employees; and the risk that unions will allow free-rider problems to be created in order to improve their bargaining leverage, and cultivate a public reputation as being taken advantage of and as not encouraging parasitism or reward without contribution.

   How can the left claim to desire universal employment where every worker receives the full product of their labor, yet accept government creation of artificial scarcity in the job market by imposing licensing standards, and impose wage controls which prevent low-skilled workers from determining what the product of their labor is worth for their own subjective purposes?

   Why are some in the labor movement willing to tolerate corporate personhood for big business as long as unions and left-wing PACs retain the freedom to contribute inordinate amounts to political campaigns?

   Why are so many self-described anarchists who oppose monopoly and government violence willing to accept the government’s monopoly on legitimate force so long as the government uses preventive intimidation of taxpayers and capital to extend exclusive privileges to unions?

   Isn’t it time to free-up the market for the negotiation on behalf of labor, and allow new unions to compete without being sued by the established union?

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