By on December 14, 2012

Articles about right-to-work spawn a lively discussion at TTAC, sometimes with more than 200  comments, interspersed by appeals for selective self censorship. The topic won’t go away. Neither at TTAC, nor in the nation. “Laws that weaken the power of organized labor could spread to more U.S. states in 2013 after supporters of the measures scored a major victory over unions in Michigan this week, and earlier in the year in Indiana,” says a report by Reuters.

“Other states will be emboldened by the passage of the right-to-work law in Michigan. Before the next year is over, we will probably see a majority of states with right to work laws,” said Gary Chaison, industrial relations professor at Clark University’s Graduate School of Management, ” who called the Michigan decision a “catastrophe for unions and a sign of their waning power.”

The report sees “right-to-work” laws spread to neighboring Midwest states of Wisconsin and Ohio, where Republican governors and legislatures  may be wi8lling to take on the unions. Missouri also could stop the “closed-shop” system .

What is driving the process is competition. Businesses, jobs, and tax revenue are seen gravitating to right-to-work states.

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144 Comments on “Right-To-Work Goes Viral...”


  • avatar
    tikki50

    To call RTW in Michigan a victory is hardly the truth. They jammed it through so fast they didn’t even read it, and now that’s a victory? If its such a great thing then why did police and FF unions get exempted from it?

    • 0 avatar
      MrGreenMan

      That right-to-work became an issue in the Michigan election was a real surprise to me. I expected the emergency manager proposal, I was aware that the bridge proposal would be on there, and I was aware of the contention over the home care workers being unionized. I didn’t know about the two union-backed constitutional amendments to oppose right-to-work laws until I received my sample ballot three weeks out.

      Rick Snyder had said he wasn’t going to do right-to-work, but then the opposition to right-to-work was thrashed on the constitutional amendments. He may have been a different kind of politician, but he was a politician; the expectation that an Obama wave would carry those amendments through backfired.

      Sleeping dogs should have been left alone; Rick would never have championed this on his own. See for example how he has opposed ending the gun purchase permits because he doesn’t want to talk about gun laws.

      Police and fire fighters have always been handled differently in Michigan. For example, they have to send any labor dispute immediately to binding arbitration.

      • 0 avatar
        silverkris

        The idea that the RTW bill was payback for the constitutional amendments is, IMO, a lot of baloney. RTW laws are a long-term strategy of major business interests with a lot of dough. We’re talking the Koch Brothers, the DeVos family, ALEC (which is funded by the Kochs and have been the major drafter of a lot of aggressive anti-worker, pro-corporate legislation, which also extends to voter suppression efforts), and think-tanks like the Mackinac Institute. These guys were in it for the long game. Think Scott Walker in WI, Rick Scott in FL, who are also tied to them.

        The lame duck session was a very convenient way to shove through controversial legislation with little notice. Besides the labor bills, the MI legislature also passed a strong anti-abortion bill, a bill that would rescind Proposal 2 (which did away with the emergency manager law), and even an anti-Shariah bill (great way to appeal to the large Muslim community in Dearborn). The timing
        was ripe for action because the state legislature(dominated by the GOP) would be losing a few Republican seats in the next session.

        I think the Kochs, DeVos, and others basically threatened some Michigan legislators and Snyder – if you don’t do our bidding, we’ll find someone who will (get “primaried”). Because Snyder had certainly up to now made no announcement that he was in favor of setting RTW in Michigan.

      • 0 avatar
        and003

        At the time, he wasn’t interested the right-to-work idea, but apparently changed his mind.

        The possible reasons can be found here:
        http://www.freep.com/article/20121207/COL06/312070141/Tom-Walsh-Gov-Rick-Snyder-s-change-of-heart-seems-to-be-born-from-frustration

    • 0 avatar
      Pig_Iron

      Just my observations: Somestimes emergency services are legislated “essential” services without the right to strike. So they can only take job actions like work-to-rule (such as refuse overtime), and take job actions like wearing the service’s ballcap, insteat of the uniform hat, to protest when the contract has expired, etc. If forced into arbitration, the settlement is usually generous. But after it builds up there can be political backlash, then wages get frozen for a contract cycle or two.

    • 0 avatar
      Caboose

      @tikki50:

      You said, “To call RTW in Michigan a victory is hardly the truth. They jammed it through so fast they didn’t even read it, and now that’s a victory?”

      You mean, like the ACA? If the Left gets to call that a win, why not let the Right bask in the same tenuous, fleeting glory?

      • 0 avatar
        ruckover

        The ACA was based on Republican ideas (Brookings Institution and Heritage Foundation) that had been around since the early 1990s and had been made law in MA by Romney. I am not sure this is a very apt comparison.

      • 0 avatar
        SwampBuggy

        If I am reading it correctly, Caboose is basing his comparison on the fact that both pieces of legislation were highly controversial and quickly passed despite intense opposition. On that basis, they are quite similar.

  • avatar
    MarkP

    Well, obviously a business would rather pay workers less for the same work, so if they can destroy unions, they can destroy workers’ ability to bargain for higher pay. So, sure, businesses will want to move to anti-union states. Why that’s a good thing in general is beyond me, unless you happen to own a business and want to stiff your employees. If one has any concern for the welfare of the people who actually build things, then one would not consider that a good thing.

    Increasing tax revenue is questionable. Many of the anti-union states that have attracted manufacturers have done so by competing to see which state could eliminate the most taxes the manufacturers will pay.

    • 0 avatar
      NMGOM

      Mark,

      There is no way that anyone should be required to join a union (or any other “club”) as part of a condition of employment. That is not constitutional, and a violation of freedoms. I don’t care about alleged benefits: America has always done “inefficient” things to insure individual rights. That’s the nature of our great country.

      ———-

      • 0 avatar
        harshciygar

        Unfortunately, the way the law is written, you aren’t forced to join a union, but the union is required to extend the same pay and benefits to you regardless.

        That is obviously a one-way street, and will result in the destruction of the unions as fewer members join, meaning fewer dollars to champion the cause of the workers.

        It amazes me how a party so dead-set against “mooching” champions a law that encourages exactly that.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        “It amazes me how a party so dead-set against “mooching” champions a law that encourages exactly that.”

        That’s a very good point.

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        harshciygar: It amazes me how a party so dead-set against “mooching” champions a law that encourages exactly that.

        No more amazing than the party and its supporters that were ready to paint anyone who raised the issue of “free riders” (when it came to who pays taxes and who benefits from government programs) as racist, selfish, hate-filled, etc., now suddenly all worried about “moochers.”

        One would think that unions, having supported the presidential candidate who made hay with this issue during the campaign, would be thrilled to have the opportunity to practice what they preached.

        But, apparently all of the charges and counter-charges hurled during the presidential campaign have been lost in a rather convenient case of amnesia.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        “Unfortunately, the way the law is written, you aren’t forced to join a union, but the union is required to extend the same pay and benefits to you regardless.”

        You do realize that it is the employer, not the union that actually provides pay and benefits to employees? Don’t you?

      • 0 avatar
        el scotto

        @ geeber Some unions, mostly trade unions sent money to the GOP.

      • 0 avatar
        AmeroGuy

        NMGOM, you understand of course that no one is required to join a union as a condition of employment unless that employer has voluntarily entered into an agreement only to hire union workers. It’s RTW legislation that’s a violation of employers ability to enter into such agreements.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        No sound employer would enter into such an agreement without a gun to their head… today and thirty years ago (with regard to labor unions).

        Perhaps in some industries an employer might think “well I could hire the construction union to build my building over random people because as the employer I pay more but I get a better employee and thus a better product”. But can you make the argument “I want UAW (or whomever) over random new hires to build my product because…” Because they will throw bricks at your house if you don’t? Because they will break into your facility at night and bust up the place if you refuse? Because they will leverage their local Democrat into coming after you with invented regulations and vilify you on television?

        This Sopranos stuff needs to end and end now, its beyond unprofessional… and we wonder why so many of our “traditional union jobs” were off-shored.

  • avatar
    rushn

    And yet, German auto companies make money despite having some of the strongest unions in the world and highest paid labor. The insistence that it’s the concept of unions that’s broken and not the actual labor/management relations that are broken is an interesting way for many companies to divert attention from management’s repeating failure.
    .

    • 0 avatar
      tjh8402

      BMW and Mercedes are both premium brands, so their increased production costs get passed on to customers who are happy to pay them because of the brand’s appeal. VW is the only non premium brand doing well in Europe right now, and how many of their cars are actually made in Germany?

    • 0 avatar
      NMGOM

      rushn…

      European Unions generally (not just German one) are causing real problems with their excessive protectionism, which prevents car makers like Renault, PSA-Citroën, and Opel from flexibly downsizing and relocating to SAVE their companies and thereby to SAVE jobs and generate new ones.

      Japanese “unions”, conversely, operate as employment clubs which try to help employees be more efficient and happy, in conjunction with management. Can they teach us something?

      ————–

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        We still have much to learn from Japanese culture.

      • 0 avatar
        Xeranar

        Japanese unions are structured exactly like american unions. They’re in fact modeled on them. The problem for the US is that the wealthy elite who emasculate the working class do so with glee. Japanese culture is highly nationalistic and their elite class is growing more psychotic like our own they still support their society.

        The obtuse libertarian arguments are so poorly construed in terms of rights and liberty that it’s laughable. The reality is that RTW laws drive wages down and usually generate zero jobs actually attributable to them. If you want jobs in the US we can either use tax breaks/credits or a form of protectionism. We can also pressure international trade to stop being based on “free” and instead base it on “fair.”

      • 0 avatar
        Landcrusher

        I am going to have to agree with NMGOM on Japanese unions. The dusty old books on my shelves say his version is closer to reality than Xeranar is.

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        Japanese unions are more like the old company unions that, in the United States, were outlawed by the Wagner Act. They have been that way ever since Nissan broke the militant faction of the Japanese auto unions during a 1953 strike. Xeranar obviously has no clue regarding the history of the Japanese auto unions or how they really function.

        I’d suggest reading David Halberstam’s excellent 1986 book, The Reckoning, which gives a detailed description of this strike, and how it affected the unions in Japan, before commenting on this subject again.

    • 0 avatar
      phreshone

      there is a reason BMW and Mercedes built plants in the US. German labor.

      • 0 avatar
        Sttocs

        Not because Americans buy the SUVs that are made in America, and Europeans buy the cars that are made in Europe?

        Now, you could argue that “foreign” marques are made in non-union states instead of union states for the cost savings of non-union labor, but you would have to prove that there is a savings from non-union labor.

        You would also have to ignore the massive tax breaks many of the southern, non-union states give businesses. That’s your tax dollars going to foreign companies.

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        Don’t forget to factor in the massive tax breaks and infrastructure improvements that states and municipalities have given to GM, Ford and Chrysler when they make major upgrades to existing plants.

        (Those companies haven’t been building many new ones, for obvious reasons, so state and local governments have focused on retaining existing plants).

        You also have apparently forgotten the bidding circus that surrounded GM’s decision to build a brand-new plant that ultimately became its Spring Hill, Tennessee, manufacturing facility.

        To pretend that only the transplant operations of BMW, Hyundai, Honda, Mercedes, Nissan, Toyota and VW have received hefty incentives from local and state governments to build plants is disingenuous, at best.

        It has been well-documented that the non-union factories of foreign-based auto manufacturers were more efficient than their Big Three counterparts. That is why, over the last decade, the UAW has made concessions at the bargaining table regarding health care costs and work rules.

        It sure didn’t make those concessions out of the goodness of its heart, or because it wanted management to “win one” for morale.

      • 0 avatar
        geozinger

        @geeber: I would say that the gravy train accelerated greatly after the southern states started ‘giving away the farm’. Cities and counties up north had been giving tax abatements for years for large corporations, but mostly for existing facilities. Not often did you see that extended for new facilities, at least in my recollection.

        I lived in Atlanta during the time when the MB plant negotiations were happening. MB was as bad or worse than GM (Saturn) was in terms of pitting cities/counties/states against one another to see who could come up with the best deal. I can remember the editorials in the newspaper badmouthing Alabama gov’t officials for their brazen actions. Personally, I thought it was Georgia officials’ sour grapes that they didn’t win MB over.

        I also thought that there was no way Northern states would be able to compete with the freebies that were being handed out, but to my surprise GM has built new facilities (at least one in Michigan no less) since the mid 1990′s. Of course with the BK, many more older facilities were shuttered. No gain, there.

        Business will do what we (collectively) let them do.

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        geozinger,

        If there were some way to forbid state and local governments from giving tax abatements or infrastructure improvements to lure plants, I’d be all for it (although you’d still face the fact that states have different tax rates, or that workers in one state may be more willing to cooperate with management than workers in another state).

        But let’s not pretend that only southern states do this, or that only the transplant operations of the foreign manufacturers have benefitted from this practice.

        When Ford was discussing whether to close its large Atlanta plant (which made the old Taurus), the state of Georgia was ready to pony up all sorts of incentives for Ford to keep it open.

        Ford also received incentives and infrastructure improvements, courtesy of Illinois and Chicago, when it upgraded its Chicago plant to build the Freestyle and Five Hundred.

      • 0 avatar
        el scotto

        Hmmm. If you understand that states/cities do cartwheels and offer huge cash incentives for a company to set up a new plant/keep the old plant going and all the plant’s inherent jobs. You might get a glimmer of why the bailout made economic sense for keeping all those inherent jobs. Cause and affect.

      • 0 avatar
        geozinger

        @geeber: I get the differences between the states and their inherent differences. To my recollection, the high water mark was the whole situation with MB and the State of Alabama. You know it’s a bad situation when the politicians who are all giving these companies ‘gifts’ to come to their state are calling each other names. But, that was 15+ years ago.

        What was unusual then is now the standard.

        And I’m not claiming that ONLY the transplants have benefited from or have practiced this, GM started a similar technique in the late 80′s with the Saturn ‘project’, that I referenced in my first post. The major difference was they hadn’t quite taken it to the same level as MB and Alabama. It was one of the main things that really p!ssed me off about Roger & Co., at the time.

        It was deplorable for a major corporation to pit one municipal unit against one another to see who could give them the best ‘deal’. Particularly, when the final sites had been chosen well in advance. Why do that to the people?

        But now, everyone does it. Business is business, right?

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        el scotto,

        Just because local and state governments offer incentives to keep a plant open doesn’t mean that it’s best for the company or the country in the long run.

        The Atlanta plant closed because the Ford Motor Company (and the U.S. auto market) had too much capacity. Keeping the plant open would not have been good for the Ford Motor Company or even the American automobile industry.

        Atlanta is doing fine without the plant. What this shows is that municipalities and states should not place all of their economic eggs in one type of industrial basket.

    • 0 avatar
      Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

      How are German work rules vs UAW? How are workers pensions and healthcare paid for?

      IMO the labor costs at this point are likely secondary vs the work rules and other strictures placed on businesses by the unions. Japanese labor is also probably pretty pricey but it still appears a whole lot more flexible and better-attituded than US labor.

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        The Japanese manufacturers have had no problem managing their U.S. workers, so I’m not sure that there is any proof that Japanese labor is that much more “flexible and better-attituded” than their American counterparts.

        Ford was able to get the UAW to agree to more competitive work rules in its U.S. plants, but it has worked harder than GM and Chrysler to maintain a relationship with the UAW. It didn’t hurt that William Clay Ford, Jr., made it a point to have breakfast regularly with UAW President Ron Gettelfinger.

        Labor relations, like everything else in modern busines, have to be properly managed.

      • 0 avatar
        Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

        How much Japanese-manufacturer US workforce is UAW? How much is in RtW states in the south? Has there been a transition from one to the other over time, and what direction has that been in?

  • avatar
    tjh8402

    police and FF got exempted for political reasons. The CW is that a big reason Ohio’s attempts at labor reforms got overturned and Wisconsin’s did not is because Wisconsin also exempted police and FF from the reforms whereas Ohio did not. Police and FF unions have a lot of political influence in and of themselves, and also in their ability to appeal to the public for support. Besides, if the reasoning behind RTW laws is that it makes the state more attractive for companies to set up shop and hire employees, it’s not like that would have a direct impact on police and FF jobs anyway.

  • avatar
    carguy

    As long as RTW legislation is restricted to removing the mandatory union membership in order to get certain jobs then I am all for it. However, the concern is that many states also add other “employer friendly” clauses to the legislation that strip basic rights for all workers – union or not. Let not make RTW an excuse to go beyond compulsory union membership and erode other long standing worker benefits.

    • 0 avatar
      silverkris

      There is NO mandatory/compulsory union membership, for the umpteenth time.

      That has been Federal law since 1947!

      • 0 avatar
        GusTurbo

        This can’t be said enough. Just about every news outlet I’ve read about this in has misrepresented this fact.

      • 0 avatar
        rmmartel

        They don’t want facts to get in the way of a good “story.”

      • 0 avatar
        mypoint02

        But there is mandatory dues or “fair share” collection. My wife is a teacher (in WI) and before the changes here was forced to contribute $1000 a year to the union. Coincidentally, the “fair share” rate if she didn’t want to be a member was exactly the same. There was no choice as to whether you paid or not. Now there is.

        I don’t have a problem with collective bargaining in the private sector. It’s the union’s political activities that I don’t want to pay for. I don’t believe anyone should be forced to contribute to a group that has ideologies and politics that they may not agree with. The $1000 my wife contributed that year was pissed away on failed recall campaigns and political advertising with nothing to show for it. Not only that, the seniority based layoff policy ended up causing her to lose her job, regardless of performance. The whole experience turned us off on the so called benefits of union membership.

  • avatar
    ExPatBrit

    A famous person said these things, obviously some kind of Marxist lefty.

    Workers have a right to organize into unions and to bargain collectively with their employers. And a strong, free labor movement is an invigorating and necessary part of our industrial society.”

    Only a fool would try to deprive working men and women of their right to join the union of their choice.

    Should any political party attempt to abolish Social Security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes you can do these things, but their number is negligible and they are stupid.

    President Dwight Eisenhower.

    Guess where the tiny splinter group resided?

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      The right to join a union of my choice and a requirement to join a union just to be employed aren’t the same thing at all.

      • 0 avatar
        Sttocs

        It’s not a requirement to be employed. You can work for a company that isn’t a union shop, or start your own union-free company.

        Capitalism, remember?

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        Why don’t the unions start their own businesses and run them as they see fit? Their own staffs don’t tend to be organized, so maybe they’re not as dumb as the masks they wear in public.

      • 0 avatar
        Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

        “It’s not a requirement to be employed. You can work for a company that isn’t a union shop, or start your own union-free company.”

        True, as I’m sure those looking for work in MI vs those looking for work in TX would be quick to agree.

        Walk your concept out a few years, and you see Detroit vs. San Antonio.

    • 0 avatar
      Sttocs

      Of course Eisenhower would say that — he came up through the military. Those commie pinko bastards with their socialized health care and “compassion” for their brothers!

      Let the free market take care of gaping bullet wounds!

    • 0 avatar
      jacob_coulter

      Considering right-to-work has absolutely nothing to do with anything from that Eisenhower quote, why is it relevant?

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        Eisenhower didn’t have the benefit of knowledge that we have, that so many industries and employers are gone due to the unions and that they’ve infected the government. Even Jimmy freaking Carter reduced the collective bargaining rights of federal employees.

      • 0 avatar
        ExPatBrit

        Only shows that at one time the GOP was for the working blue collar guys. Dwight, after all spent a lot of time with people like that in WW2 and respected them.

        Nowadays, GOP is all about getting rid of any Social safety net, job security and beating on the same folks.

      • 0 avatar
        Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

        Eisenhower’s quote also must be taken in its proper context: basically all of the productive capacity on Earth had been smashed to pieces or was subject to Communist mismanagement and isolationism. The US literally had the world to itself for quite a few years after WWII. Notice the decline of Detroit is pretty much concomitant with the expansion of the previously bombed-to-shit Japanese industrial machine. Inbred incompetent management and spoiled lazy workers didn’t do much to help the situation, and they laughed Deming right out of the fucking continental US.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Eisenhower might tract those worse if he could see what a heavy weight those things have become on the American people as a whole.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    As long as all unions are considered the same, I’ll keep popping up like a jack in the box. I used to be in a trade union. It was mandatory in my union to attend classroom training and document your work hours for advancement purposes. We worked with the customer, not against them. On time, on budget, done with skilled workers. the last bolts have been tightened? Time to look for a new job.

    • 0 avatar
      MrGreenMan

      You will find many friends on the alt-right who would love to see the public school teachers union, for example, become more of a trade union again. Lots of people point to the decline of American education to when the NEA became more concerned about hourly wages than standards.

      It is a good thing for people skilled in the art to have an imprimatur to indicate that they are, in fact, skilled in the art, and develop ways for others to become skilled in the art through sufficient training.

      It’s always the weird cross-sell in politics, though — go to the trade union for reputation, go to the labor union for numbers.

      • 0 avatar
        silverkris

        I take a different view. I think the focus of many unions in the past to just focus on being a “trade union” (concerned mostly with wages, benefits, work conditions) has hurt the union cause by in giving the public perception that they are narrowly focused.

        It has to be more of a broad, socially-based mission. That’s what the UFW (farm workers) did to organize and gain broader support.

        As a teacher, I can definitely tell you that the teachers’ union here (CTA) definitely encourages CPE (continuing professional education) and PD, and offers programs to do this. Remember, PD and CPE for educators is on their own time and dime.

        I’d say the decline of American education is really due to disinvestment in education in general, and the increasing social inequality over the last 3 decades, rather than on teachers’ unions, which is a tired political football. Charter schools have been touted as a panacea for the ills of public schools, but data show that they don’t do any better in terms of academic performance than regular mainstream schools, on the whole.

      • 0 avatar
        shaker

        That’s the problem with the perception of teacher’s unions – while they occasionally are found to ‘protect the incompetent’, much of the decline of our education system is because of external factors that result in the classroom becoming a chaotic atmosphere that is not conducive to education – a teacher’s job is so much harder (and unappreciated) than it used to be, that those with superior academic credentials shy away from a public school career – they’re teachers by training, not surrogate parents or police officers. Thus the unions are trying to defend people that are willing to merely “ride herd” on kids that have less self-discipline than ever before (and more harmful distractions, like phones, hand-held video games, etc.)
        I remember that if I messed up in school, I would get my butt kicked when I got home – the only rights I had were to shut up and learn. Kids now need some ‘tough love’, but it’s increasingly impossible to apply this rule due to all the external influences.

      • 0 avatar
        Landcrusher

        Teachers unions are a whole other animal, like the lawyers union. Most of the management in education belongs to the union.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        @shaker +1

        @landcrusher, where did you get that idea? I have worked as a teacher in both Michigan and New Mexico and when you reach the level of administrator you must quit the union. My union card is framed and hanging on the wall in my office to remind a few of my teachers that I am not “anti-union” but merely trying to enforce the rules and regulations and advacate for the students.

        Every state has basic teacher competencies that if enforced will allow you as an administrator to ether correct the behavior of an errant teacher or put them on the path to being fired. I am often appalled at the unwillingness of my fellow administrators to enforce these provisions.

        The biggest headache is that after the first three years of employment of a teacher in most states you are committing yourself to 12 months worth of work and documentation to fire a teacher unless they commit an actual crime.

        And in New Mexico you are not required to be a member of the teacher’s union, but the protections that they got signed into law still protect the non-union teachers.

      • 0 avatar
        Landcrusher

        Dan,
        I had a district admin neighbor who was quite active in the union here. Perhaps things vary by district or state?

        I think a lot of the dislike of teachers unions does come from the incompetent thing. People who work at companies where poor performance gets you canned aren’t really patient when they compare the relative importance of widget sales to child educating. Then there is the resistance to change, etc. It all sounds too much like UAW. We may know its totally different, but the perception doesn’t have to be correct.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        True enough. States do often do “state by state” things. I have joined professional organizations as an admin that will give me a million dollars in liability protection but those are quite expensive for a year membership and you must pay up front.

        It is frustrating to work so long on trying to get someone dismissed. I’m working on a teacher right now with decades of experience (in another country) and 7 years of experience in my building and has risen to the highest level of licensure in the state of NM. Unfortunately she undercuts me at every opportunity, finds ways to force special education students out of her classroom, has an hostile relationship with her aides (even though they have saved her butt on numerous occasions), and managed to drive out her grade level peer who was far supperior to her. She is a union member and believes she is untouchable.

        I owe it to the children of this community to do something about her. Fortunately I’m NOT the idiot the hired her originally.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      I have a good friend who grew up in a heavily-unioned part of the rust belt. He was doing a lot of work with construction, and was constantly threatened by members of trade unions, even to the point that people would come by in the middle of the night and sabotage their work site.

      Just like any other organization, unions–including trade unions–are capable of good and bad. I have no doubt that there are many good unions who do nothing but make sure their members are the best in their business and are treated fairly (not extravagantly) and do so at a reasonable cost. However, the big-name unions that make the news are just as evil and vile as they claim the big businesses they fight are.

    • 0 avatar
      el scotto

      @ silverkris they’re called trade unions because they narrowly specialize on one trade. Electricians, pipefitters, ironworkers, etc providing education and training for one trade. The UCF, UAW, etc? Work there,you can join. A much lower threshold for joining the union. I do think teachers should reorganize as a trade union. Highly skilled for most and easier to fire for the not so skilled.

  • avatar
    mikey

    Just another lap in the race to the bottom.

    I agree with a lot of the comments regarding politics,that were made here at TTAC yesterday.I’d prefer we stick to cars. However, I’m not the editor, so its not my call to make.

    Thats my last political/union,pro, or con, comment I make. I’ll stick with cars/trucks,thank you.

  • avatar
    Bunter1

    Here is some info from Mark Perry (economist, U of Michigan)
    “Since the recession ended in June 2009, almost three out of every four jobs added to U.S. payrolls have been in Right to Work states (1.86 million out of 2.59 million), even though those 22 states represent only 38.8% of the U.S. population (120 million). In contrast, only about one of every four new jobs were created in forced-unionism states (730,000), even though more than 61% of Americans live in those 28 states (189 million). ”
    also
    “Right-to-work states are also getting richer over time. Prof. Vedder (economist,Ohio University) found a 23% higher per capita income growth rate in right-to-work states than in forced-union states, which over the period 1977-2007 amounted to a $2,760 larger increase in per-person income in those states. That’s a giant differential.”
    and
    “, when adjusting for the cost of living in each state and the fact that right-to-work states were poorer to begin with, a 2003 study in the Journal of Labor Research by University of Oklahoma economist Robert Reed found that wages rose faster in states that don’t require union membership.”

    Looks like a win for workers and the economy overall.
    Unions will need to improve their product to keep it viable.

    Bunter

    • 0 avatar
      phreshone

      Thank you for bring some facts to the discussion…

      Unions prevent the individual from reaching their potential

      • 0 avatar
        el scotto

        Damn, all those classes, studying, and logged hours to make journeyman were a waste. I’d be a master at my trade if my elbow hadn’t blown out. Unions prevent the individual from reaching their potential”, my ass.

    • 0 avatar
      shelvis

      Yes, you have just shown the amazing growth in service sector jobs. McDonalds has been hiring folks left and right.

      • 0 avatar
        Bunter1

        Apparently you missed the section noting wage growth has also been better in the RTW states.
        Are you also assuming that the non-RTW states are not full of fast food enterprises? Perhaps with less jobs growth they need fewer?

        Yours is an empty snark. ;^p

        Enjoy,

        Bunter

      • 0 avatar
        shelvis

        The modest growth in right to work states is indicative of a full package of corporate favors. If a state offers tax credits and other corporate welfare, weak unions are just icing on the cake.
        You would have to be a fool to think that the growth in those states is simply due to RTW.
        And what happens to other states that aren’t RTW? Do we just steal jobs from state to state?

      • 0 avatar
        dtremit

        Wage growth != wages, bunter1. 23% higher wage growth doesnt mean much when the wages are half as high to start.

        Studies have consistently shown that given workers doing similar jobs in RTW and non-RTW states, the RTW state worker consistently gets less pay and fewer benefits. An EPI study from last year, for instance, found that the wages of manufacturing workers were about $1,500 higher in non-RTW states, with much higher retirement contributions by employers as well.

    • 0 avatar
      silverkris

      Uh, not really.

      Hofstra University’s Lonnie Stevans: “Wages And Personal Income Are Both Lower In Right-To-Work States.” In an analysis of the economic impact of “right-to-work” laws, Hofstra University professor Lonnie Stevans wrote:

      Wages and personal income are both lower in right-to-work states, yet proprietors’ income is higher. As a result, while right-to-work states may maintain a somewhat better business environment relative to non-right-to-work states, these benefits do not necessarily translate into increased economic verve for the right-to-work states as a whole — there appears to be little ‘trickle-down’ to the largely non-unionized workforce in these states. [Review of Law & Economics, Volume 5, Issue 1, 2009]

      And:
      Researchers who study the impact of right-to-work laws find that these laws do not create jobs–despite supporters’ claims to the contrary. The Indiana Chamber of Commerce, for example, claims that “unionization increases labor costs,” and therefore makes a given location less attractive to capital. The purpose, then, of right-to-work laws is to undermine unions and therefore lower wages in a given state, thus attracting more companies into the state.

      But in practice this low-road strategy for job creation just doesn’t pan out. Despite boosters’ promises of job creation, researchers find that right-to-work had “no significant positive impact whatsoever on employment” in Oklahoma, the only state to have adopted a right-to-work law over the past 25 years-until Indiana did so days ago-and consequently the best example of how a new adopter of right-to-work laws might fare in today’s economy. In fact, both the number of companies relocating to Oklahoma and the total number of manufacturing jobs in the state fell by about a third since it adopted such a law in 2001.

      Indeed, most right-to-work advocates’ purported evidence of job growth is based on outdated research and misleading assertions. An Indiana Chamber of Commerce-commissioned study found right-to-work states had higher employment growth between 1977 and 2008 compared to states without a right-to-work law, but much of that growth could be attributed to other factors. Those factors included the states’ infrastructure quality, and even its weather–which the study ignored.

      • 0 avatar
        Landcrusher

        I looked up the Hofstra guys study and could only get the abstract. If you can link the actual study I will be happy to take a look. Though I am pretty sure what he did to get those results and he likely hid the proof.

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        Again, Oklahoma lost the big Oklahoma City GM plant in 2006. That plant closure drove down the number of manufacturing jobs. And those workers were organized by the UAW. We pointed this out in the last thread dealing with this subject.

        The cost of living in right-to-work states tends to be lower, too. Lower wages don’t translate into a lower standard of living. Compare what you need to live a middle class lifestyle in Los Angeles or New York City to what you need to live a middle-class lifestyle in Tennessee or Kentucky.

        And I love the assertion that right-to-work states DO have a higher rate of employment growth – but, we’re going to attribute that to other factors, such as better infrastructure or the weather.

        (Texas has better weather than California? Really?! The study’s authors need to get out more.)

        Which is interesting, as most right-to-work states are located in the South, and, over the past decade, I have been hearing about how much more the Northeast, New England and California are spending on infrastructure compared to those backward Southern states. But now, magically, this apparently isn’t so.

    • 0 avatar
      Xeranar

      I’m going to point here the reality of those arguments is that RTW had no effect on it. RTW states are in demographically benefitting states with lower median incomes. Thus your cherry-picked data shows the equilibrium of population changes and the rise of technology in those states.

      • 0 avatar
        Landcrusher

        What?

      • 0 avatar
        Xeranar

        @landcrusher

        Simply put RTW states are warmer, less developed, and are gaining population. In truly simple terms: most of them are in the south where people want to move and they started out poor so getting less poor is easy.

        I’ve seen the stats before. RTW really has no benefit discernible except to reward large corporations with a convenient way to fire people for anything instead of just incompetence or fiscal reasons.

        It is a complete bullshit law driven by establishment corporate right-wingers.

      • 0 avatar
        Landcrusher

        That’s an interesting theory and opinion. Wisely, this time you avoided facts, since your facts seem to be false.

        The problem is that this isn’t a facts issue at all. No matter how many facts you have, the moral issues trump them. The people who own a company should be able to offer wages and work rules and workers should take it or leave it. The modern UAW style labor union bases it’s existence on a basis that two wrongs make a right, even if the first wrong was decades ago.

        It’s just like fixing income disparity by taxing the income of the upper middle class. Nonsense. Do the hard work to fix the things that cause CEOs, hedge fund managers, and investment bankers to get so much higher pay. Wall Street used to offer value in the economy, which is not where they get their huge incomes anymore.

        Lastly, most the so called facts that get traded these days are just bad correlations. If you accidentally kick your dog on the way to work, and you get a big raise, it doesn’t mean you should kick your dog everyday.

    • 0 avatar
      silverkris

      I will return the favor here.

      Professor Perry is connected to the Mackinac Center, which is state-level, conservative think-tank advocating so-called “free market” policies. They’re tied in with ALEC, which is behind the policies being rammed through by Gov. Snyder and the MI legislature.

      Professor Dick Vedder is linked with the Independence Institute, which is also a liberatarian-leaning advocacy organization.

      I’d think that these guys went to do a study with a certain objective in mind and find data to support that, rather than the other way around.

  • avatar
    Bunter1

    ExPatBrit
    None of the RTW laws in any of the 24 RTW states restrict the right to organize or join a union in anyway.

    Cheerio,

    Bunter

  • avatar

    What will Happen when there are no more Unions? Watch your Wages drop to below minimum wage, see how you all that endose this new item!!

    • 0 avatar

      You do understand what a minimum is, right?

      min·i·mum [min-uh-muh m] Show IPA noun, plural min·i·mums, min·i·ma [-muh] Show IPA , adjective.
      noun
      1.
      the least quantity or amount possible, assignable, allowable, or the like.

      I am a software developer by day, and if you can find some mathematical proof to get below a minimum value, let me know, I was gunning for the Wolf Prize.

      Look, no one is putting a gun to anyone’s head in the RTW states and forcing them to work for a non-union shop. If they want to work in a union plant, there is that option, as well as the option of working in a non-union shop. To insist that RTW and lower wages/benefits are irrevocably linked in a hopeless cause and effect is disingenuous at best.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      Baseless fear.

      There are stable points in complex systems like employment. If those things did happen, then per your assumption of union membership protecting workers, union membership would increase.

      The goal of employers & workers should be to operate as close to the balance point as possible because that is best for everyone and is the most sustainable condition.

  • avatar
    AMC_CJ

    I don’t see anything wrong with giving workers, people, more choices to conduct their life. Well it hurt the unions? Probably. Have unions destroyed the jobs on livelihoods of their members? Yeah, look at hostess. The company was having financial problems, they were on the brink of bankruptcy….. then the union went on strike for higher pay.

    Now, I’m all for profit sharing if a company is doing will, but that particular example, among others….

    Wife used to work for the Teamsters, in a right to work state. She eventually became a union member. 10 years, said the union did nothing but protect the lazy people who didn’t want to work, and kept those who did from ever moving up on their own. Her pay was great, benefits were out standing. Work environment (outside of safety-wise) was completely horrendous. People getting in fights, stealing, completely disrespectful towards management, and not doing a damn thing in general. But the union always protected the workers. They could spit in the face of a manager, literally, and come to work like nothing ever happened the next day.

    • 0 avatar
      Sttocs

      How did unions destroy Hostess? They acquiesced to management’s demands for lower employee wages while management gave themselves pay increases. It’s simple looting, and it isn’t the people at the bottom doing it.

      And how was a business model of giving children obesity and diabetes going to pan out in the 21st century, anyway? They had no leadership.

      From Wikipedia:
      By December 2011, it was reported that Hostess Brands was on the verge of filing for bankruptcy a second time due to financial problems. The company stopped paying future pension benefits after August, thereby breaking its union contracts.[20] According to a Hostess worker at the time, “We understand that, should we pursue some form of legal action to require the company to live up to the terms of the contract, they may close, but we have come to believe that they will close anyway. We believe the company is poorly managed and the only hope is a complete change in management.”[20]

      On January 10, 2012, Hostess Brands filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy for the second time. In a statement in its filing, the company said it “is not competitive, primarily due to legacy pension and medical benefit obligations and restrictive work rules.” The company said it employs 19,000 people and carries more than $860 million in debt. The company said it would continue to operate with $75 million debtor-in-possession financing from Monarch Alternative Capital, Silver Point Capital and other investors.[5]

      In March 2012, Brian Driscoll resigned from his position as CEO.[21] Gregory F. Rayburn, who had been hired and named Chief Restructuring Officer only nine days earlier, assumed the leadership position. Fortune reported that unions within the organization had been unhappy with Driscoll’s proposed compensation package of $1.5 million, plus cash incentives and a $1.95 million “long term compensation” package. Additionally, the court had discovered that Hostess executives had received raises of up to 80% the year prior. In an effort to restore relations, Rayburn cut the salaries of the four top Hostess executives to $1, to be restored by January 1 (or earlier) of the following year.[22]

    • 0 avatar
      el scotto

      Said it before, saying it again. Not all unions are labor unions. Want some quality? Go talk to a trade union member.

    • 0 avatar
      rmmartel

      If you want to blame unions for ALL the problems, you will need to find a better example than Hostess.

      Love how the problems at mismanaged companies are never blamed on, well, mismanagement.

  • avatar
    jacob_coulter

    Right-to-work will spread because there’s really no good argument against VOLUNTARY union membership, even rank-and-file Union members like to be able to enforce that accountability with Union leadership.

    If you’re in a closed shop and feel you’re Union is ignoring you, you really have no recourse. In a right-to-work state though, you can stop paying in if you feel you’re not getting you’re money’s worth.

    I’ve also found that Unions where their dues are a “choice” are much more focused on delivering value to the rank and file as opposed to playing political “kingmakers” that essentially ignore the real issues due paying members want to see addressed.

    I’m amazed a “closed-shop” law is even Constitutional, it’s essentially forcing political membership as a precondition for employment. If say Halliburton made employees donate to the Republican Party or they’d lose their job, people would rightfully say that’s an outrage. I really don’t see how it’s any different for saying you have to pay into a political organization like a Union in order to have a job.

    • 0 avatar
      el scotto

      Paragraph three, look at trade unions. Last paragraph, the State of Indiana used to make state employees send some of their pay to the ruling party and the DMV was a political cash cow. It’s almost mandatory to be a Democrat to get a government job in Chicago.

      • 0 avatar
        phreshone

        Correct, the modern public employee union has become a defacto money laundering operation for politicians… almost 90% of dues go to political campaigns

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        I’m glad you’ve had a good experience with your trade union affiliation, but the most monstrous union I’ve been involved with is a trade union, and one I’ve seen held up as an example of a ‘good’ union in various articles I’ve read.

        Working with IBEW Local #3 in NYC was like an episode of the Sopranos during a writers’ strike. The ones I supervised were not performing skilled tasks, and they were not performing them well. They would literally screw up setting up a desktop computer, the same way over and over. Their contract said we couldn’t correct their work, so they knew they’d get to come in and be paid to do the same job again. The only time they moved quickly was to file grievances when they saw me cutting cable ties they’d used to sabotage work they’d done. Then they complained about the long hours they worked. I made the mistake of feeding them once. They took the food and splayed out in some executive offices. When they were done, one of them came and told me it was time for their meal break and they left. Fortunately, we met our deadlines in spite of their efforts at thwarting us. This was because I came up with the idea of finding out their names so that we could assign them to different floors every shift so they couldn’t tell that we’d done their work in their absence.

        It is also a trade union that is terrorizing the residents of an apartment complex in Philadelphia. http://abcnews.go.com/US/video/union-workers-blast-crying-baby-sounds-protest-17961917

        There doesn’t seem to be much of a point making a distinction between unions unless unions start policing each other. It isn’t going to happen.

      • 0 avatar
        hubcap

        @CJ

        That Philadelphia news report is shameful. Perhaps someone could return the favor at that union leader’s residence?

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        Sure they could, as long as they don’t mind getting hit with bats, stabbed, and shot. That happens to people that disagree with union actions. The Hobbs Act even gives Holder an excuse not to do anything about it.

  • avatar
    mike978

    “The topic won’t go away. Neither at TTAC, nor in the nation.” I can understand it not going away for the nation, but if California or some other state votes on RTW what does it matter to TTAC? Michigan I can see because it is a major auto manufacturing state, CA not so much.

  • avatar
    George B

    I’m surprised a swing state doesn’t pass a law allowing right-to-work to be decided at the county level. In Ohio, for example, the northeast part of the state near Cleveland could remain a union stronghold while rural western counties near Indiana could choose to go right-to-work to better compete with Indiana. Similar situation in Missouri where people in St Louis have a very different view of unions from people in the rural west adjacent to Kansas. Let the people agree to disagree by making the law more local.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      While being common sense, your proposal conflicts with the political principle of “to the victor go the spoils.”

      Why let them do what they want when you can make them do what you want?

  • avatar
    philipwitak

    re: “What is driving the process is competition.”

    bovine feces!! what is driving this process is politics. and greed.

    it is the desire by corporate america and it’s cohorts within the republican party to totally dominate and then further exploit workers to a far greater degree than they are able to currently, by destroying ‘collective bargaining’ and diminishing union support for the democratic party. and if they are ultimately successful, there is not a working person employed in this country who will not suffer significant losses as a result.

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      Yes, those cost advantages enjoyed by the transplant operations versus the Big Three, thanks in large part to more streamlined work rules and the resulting better productivity, were all just dreamed up by Fox News and the Heritage Foundation and the Koch Brothers and Clint Eastwood and Ann Coulter and Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck and the CIA and Elvis Presley and the gunman on the grassy knoll in Dallas…

      Have I missed anyone?

      And the UAW only agreed to concessions because it wanted to let management “win one” in negotiations.

      But, blaming everything on evil corporations is so much easier than actually taking the time to study the recent history of the domestic automobile industry.

      • 0 avatar
        Xeranar

        Point to the efficiencies that are verifiably due to non-unionization and not due to younger equipment and a small scale operation. You can’t, so why don’t you just crawl back into your union-hating hole?

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        At the turn of this century, Toyota only needed 1/3 the number of workers employed by GM to assemble the same number of vehicles that GM did. GM, of course, could not simply downsize to achieve the same efficiencies because of the Jobs Bank.

        Both Toyota and Honda have enjoyed more flexibility in assigning workers thanks to freedom for work rules maintained by the UAW (but originally developed by Henry Ford I!).

        Toyota and Honda were also better able to maintain plant discipline. For example, at the turn of this century, the daily absentee rate at the transplant operations was 1 percent. The daily absentee rate at the Big Three plants was 12 percent. If you don’t believe that doesn’t impact productivity and quality, you obviously have no clue as to how automotive plants work.

        There’s two items, just off the top of my head, unless you are going to call Toyota and Honda small-scale operations.

        So, you’re 0-2. Three strikes, and you’re out.

        You might find it helpful, on an automotive site, to actually learn something about the automotive industry before commenting in the future.

    • 0 avatar
      fvfvsix

      Am I the only one who cringes when someone uses the word “workers”? It’s like people are describing some nameless, faceless ants in some huge sweatshop. I guess it’s because I work in high tech, but everyone I know would consider it the worst kind of insult to be called a “worker”.

      They’re human beings with jobs, dammit. Their existence is not defined by those jobs.

  • avatar
    05lgt

    I’m sure it’s a total coincidence, but this legislation did get rammed through in the same week Chrysler was forced to reinstate the 13 workers initially fired for public drinking and reefing on breaks… on camera. I’ve not personally researched it, but I hear the pay and benefits are not that different in the non-union transplant shops. This kind of BS union result burns UAW credibility very quickly in my working class household.

    I’m pro union conceptually, but the unions we actually have in this country will never have my financial or political support. It’s amazing how many times over the UAW alone has managed to do things that have led my lefty ass to become anti-union.

  • avatar
    kenzter

    So much misinformation here.
    There is no such thing as a closed shop.
    Read up on the Taft–Hartley Act sometime.

    • 0 avatar
      el scotto

      Talk to guy who delivers package in a brown truck about a closed shop. If you move a package at UPS, you’re teamster. Well, not management or counter personnel.

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    The idea that in a non right to work state people are still free to work in a non union business or start their own business is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. Sure, you can take those options, but at anytime a union might come along, get the required votes, and receive a state protected monopoly on providing labor services to that business. So if you started the business, they can end it, and if you are an employee who doesn’t want a union you get to leave? Really?

    OTOH, we have all sorts of unions in Texas. not just trade unions. It has been right to work here likely since statehood. RTW won’t end unions. Not joining the union at your job does not make you a free rider or a moocher. RTW hampers the ability of thugs to skim profits and steal property and intimidate workers. Employees who are getting mistreated or exploited who form a union to fight back can do that here. Mostly, they don’t have to because they can usually just find a better deal. Why? Because their wages aren’t being given to politicians actively trying to destroy business and commerce in the misnomer of “Social Justice.” When the business starting up around the corner is trying to compete in a free market rather than take advantage of government policies good jobs are being created.

    • 0 avatar
      silverkris

      Let me modify your comments a bit: RTW doesn’t hamper the ability of corporate management to skim profits, steal property (worker wages and benefits), and intimidate workers. It probably enhances it. And that happens a lot in many workplaces.

      Look, the order of magnitude of the power of “union thugs” in your parlance pales compared with the incredible power of management over the lives and conditions of workers. Labor unions are a way to give the worker a bit of fighting chance to get fair treatment in terms of wages, benefits and working conditions. It’s no accident that the rise in social and economic inequality has corresponded with a decline in the % unionized workforce.

      “When the business starting up around the corner is trying to compete in a free market rather than take advantage of government policies good jobs are being created.”

      This probably applies more to large corporations working the system and getting subsidies from the government, rather than to labor markets. Has little to do with RTW or not, and many other factors, such as workforce quality, infrastructure, availability of inputs, etc. We have lots of start-ups in California.

      • 0 avatar
        fvfvsix

        Darn those evil corporate managers! When the unions start signing my paychecks, I’ll start supporting their right to extract their pound of flesh. And I say this as a former (involuntary) member of the UFCW in a right-to-work state.

      • 0 avatar
        Landcrusher

        Silverkris,
        It’s not complex. Read it again. Worst – workers have no power and are oppressed. Better – workers organize and get a better deal. Worse – thugs control the organized workers, play dirty games, and support class warfare politics to maintain their game. Best – workers have power because there is demand for their labor.

        Those who support big government aren’t trying to ruin the world, only get it perpetually stuck in worse gear.

        Union policy and other interventionist policies are related. Have you ever noticed that all the bizillionaire making start ups in Cali operate in the least regulated parts of the economy? They have very little fear of government, but they scream bloody murder when legislators talk about the Internet. Where is the USW? Oh, no such thing. So don’t tell me how Cali does fine with unions. They have skidded along because the success of knowledge based businesses that don’t have labor unions sucking them dry.

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        And where do they actually manufacture the product? Hint – it’s usually not in California.

  • avatar
    JimothyLite

    Them’s some pretty broad strokes. Are you just funnin’?

  • avatar
    silverkris

    “Correct, the modern public employee union has become a defacto money laundering operation for politicians… almost 90% of dues go to political campaigns.”

    Also utterly false. By law, union dues can’t be used for political campaigns.

  • avatar
    baggins

    silver kris – see below from the Sacramento Bee about the California Teachers Association spending to push tax increases this year

    “In 2005, CTA imposed a $60 annual surcharge on members for three years to raise $50 million to defeat Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger at a special election, which included measures to restrict union dues and cap state spending. ”

    http://www.sacbee.com/2012/01/31/4226563/the-buzz-teachers-union-spread.html

    You are either massively stupid or a liar, which is it?

    • 0 avatar
      silverkris

      You are rude.

      I was referencing CWA vs. Beck, which says that non-union members’ dues cannot be used for political or ideological objectives outside the scope of collective bargaining, and maybe it didn’t get through. I’m sorry if I did not make that clear.

      As for the CTA, CTA members can voluntarily contribute funds to a explicit PAC for political campaigns. They can also designate portion of their dues if they object to it being used for political purposes to be put into other non-political uses.

      Prop 32 in CA would have really put the crimp in labor unions’ ability to get funds for political purposes while allowing corporations a loophole to operate with free rein. Fortunately it was defeated. And I am non apologetic about that at all.

      Look, CTA may be big as a player, but let’s look at the context – corporations pretty much outspend unions on political action by a factor of 10 to 1 or more.

      • 0 avatar
        Landcrusher

        The enforcement on that law has been nearly non existent, and when it was tried, there was nothing but screams of foul play from the unions who, IIRC, we’re then given a pass. There is currently no enforcement on where to money goes and will not be until a new admin.

      • 0 avatar

        “Look, CTA may be big as a player, but let’s look at the context – corporations pretty much outspend unions on political action by a factor of 10 to 1 or more.”

        That’s simply not true. According to Opensecrets.org, of the top 30 donors during the 2012 cycle, businesses and business groups gave about twice as much, $183.7 million, as unions did, $91.3 million (I left off the Republican governors’ group and the trial lawyers), so your “10 to 1 or more” is off by a factor of five, or more. The vast bulk of the difference in 2012 happens to have been contributions by companies affiliated with Sheldon Adelson, about $81 million. Adelson makes 2012 an outlier, because if you look at previous election cycles, it was closer to a 1:1 ration and there were certainly years when a majority of the top donors and the majority of spending was done by labor unions.

        People on the left like to talk about corporations and rich folks buying the political process while they ignore how labor unions, particularly public employee unions, give massive campaign contributions to Democratic politician who vote more funding for more public employees.

        The California Teachers Association is not just “a player”. Plenty of published reports show that nothing gets done in Sacramento without the approval of the CTA.

        If someone could explain to me how political contributions by public employee unions to politicians who negotiate contracts with them and who vote funding to hire more public employees to pay more dues to give more political contributions to those same politicians are not inherently corrupting, I’d appreciate it.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      Not everything is an either-or.

  • avatar
    silverkris

    @Landcrusher

    “It’s not complex. Read it again. Worst – workers have no power and are oppressed. Better – workers organize and get a better deal. Worse – thugs control the organized workers, play dirty games, and support class warfare politics to maintain their game. Best – workers have power because there is demand for their labor.”

    While there has been mob or corruption in some unions, it is unfair to paint all unions with that brush. Do we talk about condemning all financial companies because Ivan Boesky and Bernie Madoff stole people’s money? Corruption can happen in any organization without financial controls and regulation. And unions are subject to more government oversight and scrutiny than corporations. Also, unlike corporations, union leaders are elected by their members.

    As for class warfare, it IS happening – the ones at the top are becoming wealthier and more powerful at the expense of others. It’s only “class warfare” in a pejorative sense when the folks at the bottom start pushing back.

    • 0 avatar
      Landcrusher

      You don’t get it. The very structure of the UAW is thuggery. Labor unions don’t have to be corrupt to be immoral. They have to be inhumanly benevolent to not be thieves. RTW helps fix that by moving things towards a freer market of independent agents.

  • avatar
    silverkris

    @Geeber

    “And the research you site is completely untainted by any bias whatsoever. Methinks someone just fell off the turnip truck.”

    So go do your homework and tell me where the methodology is, instead of just scoffing because it delivers words you don’t like or disagree with.

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      You need to do YOUR HOMEWORK regarding Professors Perry and Vedder. I see nothing in your original post that proves that their findings are incorrect.

      You “scoffed” because their research delivered findings that disagreed with your beliefs. When you can prove that their “methodologies” are tainted and therefore incorrect, then we’ll talk.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “You need to do YOUR HOMEWORK regarding Professors Perry and Vedder.”

        I would think that the AEI affiliation and the use of rhetoric such as “forced unionism” (which comes straight out of the right-wing playbook) would be a hint.

        In any case, I was curious, so I decided to look at the BLS data. As Perry did, I used June 2009 as a starting point, and compared total employment at that date with September 2012. Results:

        -The “right to work” states added 1.459 million jobs

        -The remaining states (including Michigan) added 1.496 million jobs. (Yes, that’s a higher figure.)

        38.7% of the jobs added in the “right to work” states were in just one state (Texas.) Two of the “right to work” states lost jobs (Alabama and Mississippi.)

        In any case, there seems to be a correlation vs. causation problem, which is made worse by a heavy dose of wishful thinking. The vast majority of US workers are not unionized, nor are they likely to unionize, so the closed shop rules have little or nothing to do with most companies.

        These right to work laws are obviously bad for unions — the goal of using these laws in order to cut their funding should be obvious — but they otherwise don’t mean much. The unions don’t impact most employers, regardless.

        And they aren’t adding jobs in places such as North Dakota because of union rules. If there had been oil in Michigan, then they would have been drilling for it there, too.

      • 0 avatar
        Landcrusher

        PCH is correct overall.

        I would point out that RTW tends to correlate with pro business policies by states and voters, and vice versa. Michigan has thrown out all sorts of “programs” to get more businesses to move in. The reality is, less interference overall is really the best policy. They are now trying RTW, but if I were going to start manufacturing the UAW goons at the Capitol are all I need to look elsewhere.

        When you start a small business you need to focus on things other than government and unions. You don’t need those parties adding risk and taking your time unless you are depending on them for tax breaks and subsidies. We need less of the latter businesses. They don’t last as well.

        Also, high income tax states see a lot of small businesses created because the losses are essentially subsidized by the tax code. Righting off 30% of losses, especially paper ones like bonus depreciation lure investments that usually create few jobs and have other negatives like bubbles and such.

      • 0 avatar
        el scotto

        My family owned company did heavy construction including roads and bridges. We factored in union wages/prevailing wages on government and large projects. Unions and the government were large factors for us.

  • avatar
    silverkris

    Your schoolyard retorts really say a lot, don’t they?

    I’ve taken the trouble to put up Professor Stevans article AND pointed out that Vedder and Perry work for right wing think tanks with direct connections to political partisan organizations. If you are that lazy, I can’t help you.

    • 0 avatar
      Landcrusher

      Where is the article? Could you link it again?

      Frankly, who people work for is interesting, but they all work for somebody. It’s about the words, not the label. Most every college is a left wing think tank and their journals are mostly propaganda rags anymore. So do we ignore everything they do anymore?

  • avatar
    silverkris

    here’s a comment critiquing Vedder’s methodology:

    http://www.policymattersohio.org/scrtw

    Happy?

  • avatar
    OldWingGuy

    I am curious about the logistics of non-union members working in a union environment.
    I understand that non-union members probably earn the same wage.
    But how does it work for seniority ? Do non-union workers acquire seniority for bidding purposes ? And how do they handle grievences. Surely the union is not expected to represent the non-union workers ?

    • 0 avatar
      rmmartel

      Surely the union IS expected to represent the non-union workers.

      I’ve represented non-members many times when I was a union steward and chief steward. Seems it is the most vocal anti-union people then end up with a discipline or performance issue and come running to the union for help. “You gotta’ help me!”, yup, according to the law I have to represent you in the same way with the same vigor as I would for a union member.

      I think I’ve filed more grievances in 12 years for non-members than I have for union members. Funny.

      Seniority is seniority – it is how long you’ve worked there – regardless of union membership status.

      • 0 avatar
        Landcrusher

        Doesn’t RTW change that? Surely no paying of dues means no representation.

        You have to admit, as long as the union can force people to live with their dues and other encumbrances they should get the advantage of those encumbrances.

      • 0 avatar
        rmmartel

        No RTW does not change that. Which is why you see union folks using the “freeloader” and “moocher” language in reference to non-members in these situations.

  • avatar

    As far as I know, any of the Transplants makers are not in the UAW or CAW! These manufactures pay wages similar to what the Union Plants pay, one thing if there was no Union anywhere, I would imagine that these Transplants makers would cut Wages and Benefits to the bare minimum and Safety rules would go out the Window too!!
    So for all people against Unions should be careful what you wish for, indeed Right to work in a plan to benefit only the Owners of these Companies, not the person who actually works on the Line!

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    All this talk about workers making more or less under certain laws is missing the point. Zero sum games are counter productive. Anyone assuming that workers making more is necessarily better is being a bit foolish. A state can make a law mandating more worker pay tomorrow and put all the businesses out of business. How about the doctors all making more? equality? Can you run an economy where the 9 to 5 greeter makes as much as the night shift utility repairman?

    The beauty of a free market is that, kept free, wages will settle at the RIGHT level. The key to that is keeping the market free. Collusion and monopoly powers have to be eliminated just as much as legislative intrusions.

  • avatar
    philipwitak

    http://www.nsfwcorp.com/dispatch/right-to-work

    “The ‘right-to-work’ movement to destroy labor unions began almost as soon as FDR passed the Wagner Act in the mid-1930s…Until the Wagner Act passed, when it came to workers’ rights, America in the 1930s was about half a century or more behind the rest of the West — child labor wasn’t even outlawed here until 1938.”

    some historical context

    “…nothing compared to the endless massacres and murders of American labor organizers…the Ludlow Massacre of the families of mine workers at Rockefeller’s mines in Colorado in 1913…Rockefeller’s private armed goons patrolled the miners’ miserable tent cities in an armored car with a mounted machine gun, spraying the tents and terrorizing the strikers, who demanded such radical concessions as ‘enforcement of Colorado’s laws,’ the eight hour work[day], and pay for time spent working…women and children in the embattled tent city dug a giant makeshift bunker pit beneath one of the larger tents to hide out from the bullets — only to have Colorado National Guardsmen douse the tents with kerosene and light them on fire while the miners’ families were sleeping, then shoot some of those who ran out, killing over a dozen children, scores of workers and their wives, and ending with the arrests of hundreds of miners.”

    “…the West Virginia mine wars: whether the massacre of tent city workers in 1913 by coal miner thugs firing from armored trains passing through the tent cities, or the Battle of Blair Mountain in 1921, when the company raised the largest private standing army in the US, and attacked strikers with gas shells fired from artillery and dropped from bombers. President Harding followed that up by sending in federal troops and the US Air Force led by Brig. General Billy Mitchell, and when it was over, the miners’ unionization drive was dead. Along with well over 100 workers and family members…”

    “The “Red Scare” of 1919-20 was aimed at breaking labor unions, and specifically at equating union security…with Bolshevism. …The Palmer Raids…where J. Edgar Hoover first distinguished himself, resulted in tens of thousands of Americans illegally rounded up, beaten, tortured, imprisoned without any due process, and deported by the thousands…”

    “Big business in America regarded the rest of the population and its labor pool…as inherently hostile, alien savages whose purpose was to enrich their masters, and who must not be given even the slightest concessions…lest it put ideas in their heads about ‘rights’…Americans had no food stamps, no unemployment insurance, no state pensions, and of course, no child labor laws and no labor protections to speak of — all the things labor unions are responsible for giving us today.”

    “…the Ford Motors massacre in Michigan in 1932, which left four workers killed and up to 50 wounded — through the Chicago Memorial Day Massacre of striking Republic Steel workers in 1937, in which company thugs and cops killed 10 peaceful marchers nearly all of whom were shot in the back, and wounded 60 more, billyclubbing the wounded as they crouched in the dirt — America was a savage and violent place to work…”

    “.in the Senate…the LaFollette Committee Report discovered that corporations not only operated armies of spies in the tens of thousands, but that “Republic Steel Corporation [responsible for the 1937 massacre] has a uniformed police force of nearly 400 men whom it was equipped not only with revolvers, rifles, and shotguns…with more tear and sickening gas and gas equipment than has been purchased…by any law-enforcement body, local, State or Federal in the country. It has loosed its guards, thus armed, to shoot down citizens on the streets and highways,” the Senate report observed. That was the arsenal controlled by just a single steel company.”

    “FDR leveled the workplace playing field some with the Wagner Act, for the first time making union security (closed shop) a reality. Labor union power and membership soared, as did wages and benefits; America suddenly had Social Security and unemployment insurance, child labor laws, a minimum wage, five day/40 hour work week, and within a few years, a powerful middle class.

    “To big business plutocrats, the New Deal labor laws represented a sort of political Holocaust that they never forgot or forgave. …business vowed that one day it would have its revenge. And that revenge would be ‘right to work’ laws.”

    • 0 avatar
      Landcrusher

      All very interesting. The part I like is how the conclusion is totally disconnected from the premises. Bravo.

      • 0 avatar
        philipwitak

        inexplicable. did you read the source material?

      • 0 avatar
        Landcrusher

        No. Did they make a connection? It sounds like a lot of bad people did bad things much of which was otherwise illegal (because government turns its head, presumably). Then, closed shop law gets passed and it all stops?

        Sorry but there is no connection. It’s much more likely that enforcement of other laws ended the murder, assault, and extortion. The shop law then becomes an example of taking advantage of a crisis. Hell, all they did really was raise the stakes to incentivize intimidation of potential organizers!

        The reality is that such behavior didn’t just end, and that other factors were likely more important in the improvement of the labor situation.

      • 0 avatar
        philipwitak

        @landcrusher: “No [i did not read the source material]…It sounds like…It’s much more likely…”

        you are obviously entitled to your opinions – even when they are uninformed by the salient facts of the matter.

        i’ll stick with reality: “FDR leveled the workplace playing field…with the Wagner Act…Labor union power and membership soared, as did wages and benefits; America suddenly had Social Security and unemployment insurance, child labor laws, a minimum wage, five day/40 hour work week, and within a few years, a powerful middle class.”

        not a bad deal at all, for those who must work to earn their living and are willing to invest a few bucks each month on union dues. but for employers incessantly obsessed with profit optimization, which always comes at the expense of those who make that profitability possible – not so much.

      • 0 avatar
        Landcrusher

        Maybe I am misinterpreting your goal? Is it not your intent that the reader conclude that RTW is bad and closed shop laws greatly reduced illegal mistreatment and intimidation of workers?

        If that is your goal, you have only reached it by sophistry, and not by a valid argument based on accepted, or in this case even unaccepted, premises.

        That is nothing but a collection of factoids designed to lead a reader to a conclusion without logical rigor. It is similar to a prosecutor trying to get a conviction by showing that the well known murderer, robber, and vandal was in the neighborhood when the child was molested. In that case, my response to that prosecutor, since I am no lawyer, would be to ask if there is actually any real evidence.

  • avatar

    Steam engines, landline phones, Labor Unions and newspapers are things of the past. Who in his right mind would like some thugs and mafiosi to negotiate on his/her behalf? May be some dumb, uneducated people. Surprising there are still some around in 21st century. Look at Trumka at his face – he looks like Neandethal – how can you possibly trust him, I wouldn’t give him a dime. I also wondering if there are unions in Tesla plant in Fremont. I would be surprised if there are – it is against innovative culture of Silicon Valley.

  • avatar
    JD-Shifty

    You’d have to be a simpleton not to see this is simply political. The same good folks who want to limit early voting and trim voting hours.


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