By on January 5, 2015
States with right-to-work laws are in green.

States with right-to-work laws are in green. Wikipedia graphic.

Organized labor has had setbacks as states formerly seen as union strongholds in the industrial midwest, Wisconsin and Michigan, have enacted right-to-work legislation that makes paying union dues voluntary. Now, the United Auto Workers, which has been trying to organize autoworkers at ‘transplant’ facilities operated in the American south by foreign automakers faces the prospect of dealing with right-to-work laws at the county level, in Kentucky. The new laws present the autoworkers’ union with a double whammy.

Three counties in Kentucky, Fulton, Simpson, and Warren counties, have already passed laws and Hardin, Todd, and Cumberland counties are expected to do so in the near future. While no such law currently exists in Scott county, where the UAW would love to organize Toyota’s large Georgetown assembly facility, many Kentucky counties are expected to follow suit, hampering the UAW’s organizing efforts in the state. Furthermore, Warren county is the home of General Motors’ Corvette assembly plant. That means that as the union faces a greater challenge to organize at foreign owned auto plants, it could conceivably be decertified at a facility operated by one of the Big 3 Detroit automakers, something unheard of.

Chad Poynor, a UAW committeeman at the Corvette recently told the New York Times, “You hear people all the time say, ‘If I were in a right-to-work state, I’d withdraw’.”

While the labor movement plans lawsuits, claiming that county laws cannot trump federal labor law, right-to-work activists point out that while the U.S. Supreme Court has not yet ruled on local right-to-work laws, the National Labor Relations Act specifically permits the individual states to enact such legislation. Furthermore, the congressional record shows that Congress, in the NLRA, expressly disavowed that federal law superseded state right-to-work laws and that view has been uphold by the Supreme Court when unions have challenged state RTW statutes.

As federal labor law currently stands, a union that has been certified at a company can require non-member employees to pay the costs of representing them, unless such requirements are “prohibited by state or territorial law” as stated in the NLRA.

Kentucky law expressly gives counties regulatory authority over commerce and economic development, so in the eyes of the federal government, at least as RTW activists see it, county laws should be seen as the equivalent to state laws. For its part, the AFL-CIO says, “Nice try — state means state.”

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125 Comments on “UAW Faces Right-To-Work Laws in Kentucky Counties...”


  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    Nothing new here. The labor movement only cares about the results and will trample the rest of our world to win.

    • 0 avatar
      319583076

      Most people only care about immediate results and will trample the rest of the world to win.

      My take on your comment.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      And this is different from their adversaries on the other side of the table how?

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      How does this differ from the typical capitalist?

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        Or the typical politician? Or the typical anyone else.

        In either case, it doesn’t.

        Replace typical with 99.9999999% of…

        Noone gives a damn. Which is why noone should be empowered to create laws they can force others to live by.

        • 0 avatar
          bunkie

          “Noone gives a damn. Which is why noone should be empowered to create laws they can force others to live by.”

          There are times when I wish we could create a model “community” built upon these ideas where people who espouse such notions could go to actually experience their libertarian utopia.

          • 0 avatar
            Landcrusher

            I don’t think he meant what you think he did, not that it was well put. At any rate, your idea of a libertarian utopia is a misconception. You likely don’t like your ideals being constantly misinterpreted and maligned in a series of crazy, hyperbolic attacks. Maybe you ought to try to read something serious and try to understand.

            Perhaps some Sowell, or even some Stossel if you must.

            There was a Libertarian governor once, and it’s not like his state collapsed.

          • 0 avatar
            bunkie

            “There was a Libertarian governor once, and it’s not like his state collapsed.”

            And, I’m sure that governor wasn’t able to set the legislative agenda. And, given that we’re talking about the past, it proves nothing.

            The original statement was sweeping, empty empty and nihilistic . We can argue the merits of individual Libertarian ideas (some of which I support, by the way), but the extreme nature of the comment was fully deserving of a snarky reply.

    • 0 avatar
      Landcrusher

      Most people would put a higher priority on the overall welfare and other priorities rather than trying to warp the law in every single case to win for a single cause. Many single issue groups are guilty of this sort of thing, but let’s realize the labor bunch are objectively among the worst.

      One great thing about capitalism is that it turns many sociopaths into relatively benign parts of our communities rather than having them be part of the government. Trying to confuse all capitalists with the sociopaths isn’t a useful argument unless you would rather have a system where the sociopaths prefer positions of government rather than corporate power.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        “One great thing about capitalism is that it turns many sociopaths into relatively benign parts of our communities rather than having them be part of the government”

        I wish this were true but sociopaths are the one’s running the show in D.C. and elsewhere.

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        “One great thing about capitalism is that it turns many sociopaths into relatively benign parts of our communities rather than having them be part of the government”

        You really, really haven’t been paying attention to, say, the hedge fund industry, have you?

        Sociopaths go where the power is. What they do when they get there is best checked by a decent social contract. Democratic socialism (as exemplified Scandinavia) seems to be the best check thusfar.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          “Sociopaths go where the power is. ”

          I agree with the above but you lose points in my book as certain Scandinavian countries are experiencing significant and abhorrent issues with Islamization due to the policies said “democratic socialism”. I’m not claiming to have the “answer” as it were, just pointing out facts.

          http://muslimstatistics.wordpress.com/2014/05/26/statistics-violent-crime-explosion-in-sweden-from-1975-2012-dominated-by-muslims/

          http://www.jihadwatch.org/2014/10/sweden-police-point-out-55-muslim-dominated-areas-where-criminals-have-taken-control-of-the-area

          http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=de1_1394099792

        • 0 avatar
          Landcrusher

          Better the hedge fund than city council, sheriffs office, school, etc.

  • avatar
    Trail Rated

    Just curious, at plants that haven’t been organised yet, and where workers don’t want to pay union dues to the UAW, what laws prevent them from creating their own union, one that charges maybe One Dollar a year.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Nothing except that a union collecting $1 from each worker wouldn’t be able to negotiate much of anything or do much else for the workers. Unions need officers, lawyers and office staff to do anything. Paying those people is where most union dues go. Contrary to a lot of FUD being spread on this thread, political activity by unions is mostly undertaken through PACs that are funded by voluntary contributions that are separate from union dues and not required to be a member of the union.

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        I think you miss the point.

        In a shop without a union, no one is doing any of those things. Therefore, to maintain the status quo–which is the goal of the shop workers who do not want an invasive union to take hold–their newly formed union would continue to do exactly that–nothing. And in doing nothing, they have no need for funds.

  • avatar
    gt

    The article mentions Wisconsin as a right to work state, but the map shows it in grey. I’m sure a lot of state legislators are going to choke over counties making some of their own rules as it would affect the legislators ability to feed at the lobbyist trough.

  • avatar
    ClutchCarGo

    In its majestic equality, the law forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, beg in the streets and steal loaves of bread.

    -Anatole France

    • 0 avatar
      bunkie

      Thanks for that quote. I wasn’t all that familiar with Anatole France. Having read that Orwell (one of my favorite writers) posted a posthumous defense of his work, I now want to read his novels.

  • avatar
    Waterview

    I wouldn’t go so far as to call it “unintended consequences”, but I think some of the right-to-work momentum is more directed at / intended for public employee unions. I think we’ll see the two groups begin to take sides against each other more frequently. Folks at all levels are starting to understand the cost of public pensions and the degree to which they’ve constrained the budget for projects that could employ private sector union workers.

    Will be interesting times . . . . .

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Amazing.

    Most of the states with Right to Work laws have the highest percentage of unisured citizens, higher rates of poverty, shorter life spans, higher teen pregnancy rates, and higher levels of violence.

    Now get out of here – your fired!

    HA! HA! Right to work state…

    • 0 avatar
      Landcrusher

      Because people never lose government jobs or get fired in blue states when they didn’t deserve it?

    • 0 avatar
      tresmonos

      manufacturing based economies have to adapt to globalization. Right to work is one adaptation. The correlation between poverty and manufacturing will continue, regardless of right to work.

      One thing that I hate about right to work laws (speaking about SC, here) is how easy it is to lay someone off and not have to pay unemployment benefits. Just sweep your workforce with urine and hair tests when you need to trim fat. Next time the hair test squad comes out, I’m making them take a sample from my scrotum. I’ve lost great employees due to recreational drug use. I don’t blame them for escaping the plant life once in a while when they have a Saturday off.

      Temp agencies reign supreme, here. And F that trashy practice.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        You bring up a good point Tres on not paying unemployment.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        It’s already starting to show cracks.

        Honda and Toyota both have said no more US manufacturing expansion. With the rapidly strengthening US dollar, and Honda being a net exporter of cars from the US now, the cost structure is going to hurt on those shipped out models.

        The north couldn’t compete with $17 an hour right-to-work wages in the south versus $30 an hour union jobs. So the auto makers went south.

        The southern United States can’t compete with the average Mexican auto worker who makes $3.65 an hour – and is happy to make it.

        Well they can’t compete for now – get rid of the minimum wage and health care requirements and we can continue the race to the bottom.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      Are you suggesting RTW laws caused these problems, as if they weren’t pre-existing before these laws? Or are you just focusing on southern states where the things listed have always been problems?

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        No – and a longer reply I wrote got eaten on this point.

        In very tight – hopefully won’t get eaten response.

        1) To attract jobs to the south, many of these states made deals with the Devil, doing massive tax cuts to the businesses resulting in budget short falls that the local citizenry picks up in taxes on them

        2) The politicians promises of jobs and a better life haven’t panned out despite the influx of manufacturing jobs – there is no benefit trickling down by any measure. The people holding these jobs are surviving

        3) If the person building the Toyota Corolla can’t buy the Toyota Corolla our economy will eventually fall apart. 70% of our economy is fueled by consumer spending – take away the consumer engine – we have no economy. Workers need to make money to buy goods – the 1% can only buy so much and the math doesn’t add up

        To be very clear I’m very anti-hand out, but I can’t stand policies that are so transparently bad for the proletariat, that people applaud.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          “I can’t stand policies that are so transparently bad for the proletariat, that people applaud.”

          I agree with you, but I noticed people have been applauding for twenty five years regardless of who was the Muppet in Chief.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          For whatever reason, the spam filter has a real distaste for the letter “i” whenever it falls between the letters “s” and “d.”

          Using a substitute for the letter “i”, such as the number “1”, will allow your post to go through. For example, “The G8 is parked outs1de in the driveway.”

          • 0 avatar
            psarhjinian

            “For whatever reason, the spam filter has a real distaste for the letter “i” whenever it falls between the letters “s” and “d.””

            Someone doesn’t like Commodore 64 sound chips.

          • 0 avatar
            APaGttH

            I actually did a search for s I d without the spaces before I posted – there must be another killing letter combo.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            APaGttH, I’ve also had several posts vanish in the last couple of days without any “S I D” present.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        Right-to-work laws and weaker employee protections tend to go hand-in-hand.

        The main intent of open shop rules is to weaken unions by reducing their ability to generate revenue. One can guess what side of the political aisle would be most interested in depriving the unions of cash and reducing their ability to pay for lobbying.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        Right-to-work laws and weaker employee protections tend to go hand-in-hand.

        The main intent of open shop rules is to weaken unions by reducing their ability to generate revenue. One can guess what s1de of the political aisle would be most interested in depriving the unions of cash and reducing their ability to pay for lobbying.

    • 0 avatar
      Crosley

      Clearly, the model should be Detroit.

      If these dumb rednecks could just understand that

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        To say Detroit has crumbled because of unions is overly simplistic at best.

        Detroit’s problems are from the multiple whammies of corrupt government, poor long term planning, a loss of jobs because of corporate mismanagement, and the loss of the tax base of over 1/2 a million people.

        The unions didn’t design the cars. The unions didn’t make bean counter decisions to save 58 cents on crappy ignition switches, or bad cruise control relays, or fasteners made to snap in, but not snap out, or a million other bad decisions.

        The unions put the cars together.

        Period.

        It was senior management and the bean counters in Detroit, and Dearborn, and Auburn Hills who built malaise era products while the Japanese provided better products (well outside of the fact that they rusted away in 5 years but at least they were still running).

        To say unions killed Detroit is just silly – and lets remember, who signed those bad deals with the unions in the first place? The same senior managers and bean counters.

        Here in Washington state the state government is in growing trouble because the schools are under funded by a few billion dollars and we aren’t even meeting the basic needs of the mentally ill (Washington state is dead last for mental health care in the United States). Those nine billion with a “B” tax breaks to Boeing don’t look so sweet, especially considering it hasn’t stemmed the slow drip of Boeing jobs of the region. Never mind that South Carolina’s operations have more problems than the union shops here, and never mind that it was Everett and Renton that stepped up to deliver record products and record profits.

        Those same tax break packages aren’t working in the south.

        No matter how you slice it, deals with the Devil are bad – the only difference is the bean counters got smarter and governments are desperate for a shrinking US job base.

        • 0 avatar
          Landcrusher

          The failure of Detroit has more to do with political corruption. One party rule is dangerous, and it’s even more dangerous when the press won’t challenge it because it’s dominated by black Democrats. Epic disasters like that generally have many causes. The UAW can’t take that much of the blame for Detroit. It was lots of causes, but I put corruption at the top of the list with many other reasons being synergistic and/or piling on.

          If I won’t blame the UAW, who is?

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        To say Detroit has crumbled because of unions is overly simplistic at best.

        Detroit’s problems are from the multiple whammies of corrupt government, poor long term planning, a loss of jobs because of corporate mismanagement, and the loss of the tax base of over 1/2 a million people.

        The unions didn’t design the cars. The unions didn’t make bean counter decisions to save 58 cents on crappy ignition switches, or bad cruise control relays, or fasteners made to snap in, but not snap out, or a million other bad decisions.

        The unions put the cars together.

        Period.

        It was senior management and the bean counters in Detroit, and Dearborn, and Auburn Hills who built malaise era products while the Japanese provided better products (well outside of the fact that they rusted away in 5 years but at least they were still running).

        To say unions killed Detroit is just silly – and lets remember, who signed those bad deals with the unions in the first place? The same senior managers and bean counters.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        To say Detroit has crumbled because of unions is overly simplistic at best.

        Detroit’s problems are from the multiple whammies of corrupt government, poor long term planning, a loss of jobs because of corporate mismanagement, and the loss of the tax base of over 1/2 a million people.

        The unions didn’t design the cars. The unions didn’t make bean counter decisions to save 58 cents on crappy ignition switches, or bad cruise control relays, or fasteners made to snap in, but not snap out, or a million other bad decisions.

        The unions put the cars together.

        • 0 avatar
          APaGttH

          It was senior management and the bean counters in Detroit, and Dearborn, and Auburn Hills who built malaise era products while the Japanese provided better products (well outside of the fact that they rusted away in 5 years but at least they were still running).

          To say unions killed Detroit is just silly – and lets remember, who signed those bad deals with the unions in the first place? The same senior managers and bean counters.

        • 0 avatar
          APaGttH

          It was senior management and the bean counters in Detroit, and Dearborn, and Auburn Hills who built malaise era products while the Japanese provided better products.

          To say unions killed Detroit is just silly – and lets remember, who signed those bad deals with the unions in the first place? The same senior managers and bean counters.

          • 0 avatar
            APaGttH

            well outside of the fact that they rusted away in 5 years but at least they were still running

          • 0 avatar
            S2k Chris

            Actually, if you read Lutz’s book, it’s pretty apparent that while he blames “bean counters” what he really dislikes is hierarchical pass-the-buck management, idiotic corporate regulation (“ashtrays better work at -45* F even if it makes them jerky at 65*), and product-planning by committee.

            He also makes a pretty good case for a variety of things afflicting the US auto industry in the late 70s and 80s, such as Japanese currency manipulation and simple corporate momentum.

            It doesn’t fit the management vs union paradigm, but there are a lot of reasons for the fall of the industry, and only a few of them are management’s fault, and a few are labor’s. Sometimes the most difficult thing for the public at large to accept is that no one person, group, or thing is responsible for something, and lots of little people, groups, and things are 1% responsible.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          @APaGttH

          But, the extra costs incurred by UAW demands forced the penny pinching that lead to all of those issues. Not 100%, but certainly a large part. If your cost of labor is $1000 higher than your competition, then you need to either make $1000 less, or take $1000 of cost out of the product relative to your competition.

          Though that said, I think S2KChris is spot – there is PLENTY of blame to go around in the fall of Detroit. Management would not stand up to the Union, and the Union was darned greedy. Two wrongs making a really big wrong.

          • 0 avatar
            Xeranar

            I didn’t feel like going down the rabbit hole to deep with this but you’re going to need to cite some of these arguments otherwise it’s more smoke attempting to obfuscate the known facts.

        • 0 avatar
          redav

          To say that all the above social ills are related to right to work laws is equally simplistic.

          For every complex, difficult to understand problem, there is a simple, easy to understand wrong answer.

          Good RTW laws are good. Bad RTW laws are bad. Good unions are good. Bad unions are bad. Well-run industry is good. Poorly-run industry is bad.

    • 0 avatar
      an innocent man

      Right to Work laws lead to higher teen pregnancy rates? I’m just asking.

  • avatar
    Crosley

    It’s very telling that the most important objective for the modern labor movement is not allowing workers to have the right to not join a union.

    I don’t know how on Earth anyone can argue with a straight face that someone should be forced to join a political interest group and have their paycheck garnished to fund their activities against their will.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      Type “free rider problem” into your favorite search engine.

      • 0 avatar
        Crosley

        Liberals now have a problem with free riders? That’s what their whole political constituency is made up of.

        But if a union is all about making the lives of the working class better, shouldn’t the fact that ALL workers at the place of employment have better pay not be a problem? Or is this form of social justice only a good thing for those that cough up the money?

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          Unless you are suggesting that the union’s overhead should be funded by taxpayers, the money has to come from somewhere else.

          Those who benefit directly from the union’s efforts would appear to be the most obvious candidates. Pay-as-you-go is about as libertarian as it gets.

          • 0 avatar
            Crosley

            If you can’t get workers to VOLUNTARILY give you money for the “service” you provide, clearly these people do not perceive it has any value to them.

            Who are you to say they have to against their will? What if Exxon said you had to fund their political activities or you couldn’t work there?

            Again, unions do not want workers to have this choice because they know they don’t provide value to them and most Union activities are simply funding political activity that the rank and file do not benefit from.

            Also, when states have right to work laws, the unions know the rank and file can dump them at any point. They aren’t held captive.

            BTW, let me know when the Left is willing to talk about the REAL free rider problem with food stamps, welfare, SSDI benefits, MediCaid, federal housing etc.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            One reason that the founders crafted the US Constitution was because the states couldn’t be trusted to voluntarily fund all of the costs of the federal government. Invariably, there is always someone who wants something for nothing and is happy to be a taker instead of a giver.

            If they could figure that out in the eighteenth century, then what’s your excuse for being behind the curve now?

          • 0 avatar
            Crosley

            Are you honestly trying to make a case that our Founders would have supported the concept of forcing workers to join a guild that they didn’t want to?

            BTW, states don’t fund the federal government, taxpayers do. Did you think at the end of the year each state cuts a big check and that’s where all the money comes from.

            I don’t know what point you’re trying to make, but no legal scholar has ever seriously argued that “right to work” laws violate the Bill of Rights or undermine the relationship between state and federal powers.

            The real free rider are the unions themselves, they would not exist in most places if not for a law that allowed them to forcibly extract dues against workers’ wishes.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            The founders obviously didn’t trust the states to do the right thing, hence the need to give tax authority to the federal government.

            Expecting a central government to fund its needs based upon the generosity of its states was not a smart option. You’ve had a lifetime to figure that out, so you’re already behind.

            If free riders weren’t a problem, then stores wouldn’t need to have cashiers or to worry about shoplifting. (Or perhaps you’re under the impression that shoplifters are not thieves, but are merely disgruntled customers who are expressing their dissatisfaction with the service that was provided.)

          • 0 avatar
            Crosley

            Looks like you need to go back to history class regarding the relationship between states and federal government. Needless to say, you’re drawing on absolute nonsense. The idea that right to work laws at the state level have anything to do with this is laughable.

            If Unions only want to help those that pay them money, they are certainly free to only negotiate on behalf of those that are due paying members. The company is free to decide what contracts they want to sign with which workers.

            Unions themselves certainly have no problem with 2 different “tiers” of workers and their rights within their own organization. Despite the propaganda about worker “solidarity”, the unions are worse than even “management” about pitting workers against each other and are fine with a low paid underclass to pad themselves.

            Remember, some animals are more equal than others.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            I admire your consistency. For the years that you’ve spent on this website, I have yet to recall even one thing that you’ve gotten right. Congratulations — your streak should remain unbroken through 2015.

          • 0 avatar
            jacob_coulter

            The union having a free rider problem is not society’s burden.

            So what? They are a political group that are raising funds for a cause. Whether they can exist on that model is their problem.

            You could argue everyone that benefits from political activism is a free rider, that doesn’t mean you get to force people to join the organization.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            “The union having a free rider problem is not society’s burden.”

            Then you’re in luck. “Society” isn’t paying the union dues; the workers are.

      • 0 avatar

        Is someone a free rider when they are forced into a situation? It’s the unions that demand to be the sole negotiator for all employees and then the same unions complain about non-members free riding. Seems to me to be a bit of a heads they win, tails you lose setup.

    • 0 avatar
      Crosley

      That’s the sort of response you get when you win an argument.

      Let me know when you graduate from school and can legally buy a beer.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        There’s no “argument” here. I explained what a free rider problem is, and you didn’t comprehend it (which was to be expected.)

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        …If Unions only want to help those that pay them money, they are certainly free to only negotiate on behalf of those that are due paying members. The company is free to decide what contracts they want to sign with which workers….

        Ahhh, but you know that isn’t possible. You create two class of workers and if someone can prove that one class has an advantage, they have a suit in federal court. So then either:

        a) people get the benefit of the union without funding the union or

        b) the union is powerless and we go back to 1905

        If you don’t think you benefit from a union, remember that on your next paid vacation from your 40 hour work week and your workmans comp and you don’t share your job with 10 year olds who parents are too poor so they rip their kids out of school to work in the factory.

        • 0 avatar
          jacob_coulter

          Um, there are two “classes” of workers even under the UAW contracts.

          So there goes that argument.

          And union and non-union workers are able to be employed by the same employer with different terms.

        • 0 avatar

          Right, Henry Ford had nothing to do with the 5 day, 40 hour work week, it’s all due to some obscure New England trade union.

          If the labor movement opposed child labor, it was due to self-interest, not concern for children. Early trade unionists weren’t keen on employers hiring anyone that would work cheaper than them, like children or blacks.

    • 0 avatar
      S2k Chris

      “I don’t know how on Earth anyone can argue with a straight face that someone should be forced to join a political interest group and have their paycheck garnished to fund their activities against their will.”

      Agree 100%. And to the “free rider problem” response, sure, that’s an issue FOR THE UNION, but I fail to see how one can argue, again with straight face, that it needs to be fixed WITH A LAW. The member deciding he does not get a suitable return on his investment and withdrawing his wages should be between him and the union, there’s no good argument for a law unless you’re simply trying to prop up the union for your own interests.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        The free rider problem is what it is. Whether anyone believes that it is worth fixing it is a matter of opinion.

        It is understandable why a union would want to avoid the free rider problem. It is equally understandable why those who oppose unions would prefer to institutionalize that problem. But regardless, the free rider problem is inherent to the open shop model; anyone who denies its existence is fairly clueless.

        • 0 avatar
          S2k Chris

          “But regardless, the free rider problem is inherent to the open shop model; anyone who denies its existence is fairly clueless.”

          No one is denying its existence, we’re questioning why Unions think they deserve to have it fixed with a law. Does McDonald’s get to make a law to fix declining sales? Will my TV turn on automatically to American Idol at 8PM if their ratings decline? Can Best Buy garnish my wages if I try out a camera in a BB store and then buy it cheaper online?

          • 0 avatar
            Crosley

            If you have a business or political group that can’t raise funds because of a “free rider” problem, that’s the organization’s problem.

            You could argue that any political party “helps” people that don’t pay into it, whatever side of the aisle you’re on. That doesn’t give these organizations the right to take money out of people’s paychecks in order to fund political operations because there may be be “free riders” that benefit.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            “No one is denying its existence”

            Er, Crosley is. His whole argument is based upon his inability to comprehend its existence. He believes that everyone who doesn’t pay is doing so for a good reason.

          • 0 avatar
            S2k Chris

            “Er, Crosley is. His whole argument is based upon his inability to comprehend its existence. He believes that everyone who doesn’t pay is doing so for a good reason.”

            Is he denying the existence of the problem, or is he questioning whether it’s truly a societal problem, and who has the responsibility to fix it?

            Given his statement “If you can’t get workers to VOLUNTARILY give you money for the “service” you provide, clearly these people do not perceive it has any value to them. ” clearly he recognizes the union is susceptible to the free rider problem, but I’ll dare speak for him and say he doesn’t think they deserve to be propped up by law if their constituency doesn’t find the union valuable.

            Not everyone who disagrees with you does so from a point of ignorance.

          • 0 avatar
            psarhjinian

            ” Does McDonald’s get to make a law to fix declining sales?”

            That’s not what free-rider is. Think about things like citizenship: if the free-rider problem was applied there, you would extend any and all benefits of citizenship to anyone who lived in a given area (city, state, whatever) even if they didn’t pay taxes or own property.

            That’s the issue that you get with an open shop: all shop-members get union benefits, but only some people pay dues for it. There’s no functional way to set it up such that two workers doing the same job would be subject to different rules.

            You would think that, with the right-wing’s usual policy on immigration, that this would be understandable.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            “If you can’t get workers to VOLUNTARILY give you money for the ‘service’ you provide, clearly these people do not perceive it has any value to them.”

            Er, that’s the denial right there. Go back and figure out what that actually means.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            “That’s the issue that you get with an open shop: all shop-members get union benefits, but only some people pay dues for it. There’s no functional way to set it up such that two workers doing the same job would be subject to different rules.”

            This concept is so elementary that it is fair to question the intelligence of anyone who doesn’t get it.

            The irony is that those who push for open shops do so precisely because of the free rider problem. It is predictable that union revenues will decline if the shop is open, and the supporters of “right to work” want those revenues to fall. Not only do they understand the free rider problem, but they’re counting on it.

          • 0 avatar

            You may not realize this, but you do not have the monopoly on being right or intelligent.

          • 0 avatar
            S2k Chris

            “That’s not what free-rider is. Think about things like citizenship: if the free-rider problem was applied there, you would extend any and all benefits of citizenship to anyone who lived in a given area (city, state, whatever) even if they didn’t pay taxes or own property.”

            I would get the benefit of downward price pressure in the market if McD’s cuts prices, even though I only eat at, say Wendy’s. I’m getting the benefit of lower prices even though I’m not paying for it.

            Is it a perfect analogy? No. But the point is, the union is there to provide a service and if the membership doesn’t find the service worthwhile, they stop paying for it. The logical answer to this is to A) improve service, B) cut prices, or C) stop providing the service, it’s not X) force members to hand over dues anyways.

            “That’s the issue that you get with an open shop: all shop-members get union benefits, but only some people pay dues for it. There’s no functional way to set it up such that two workers doing the same job would be subject to different rules.”

            And there’s no functional way to set it up such that everyone who comes in to test drive a camera at Best Buy buys at Best Buy instead of Amazon, but that’s Best Buy’s (and the Union’s) problem, not mine/society’s.

          • 0 avatar
            S2k Chris

            “This concept is so elementary that it is fair to question the intelligence of anyone who doesn’t get it.

            The irony is that those who push for open shops do so precisely because of the free rider problem. It is predictable that union revenues will decline if the shop is open, and the supporters of “right to work” want those revenues to fall. Not only do they understand the free rider problem, but they’re counting on it.”

            Again, no one “doesn’t get it.”

            You feel that the union’s right to exist profitably supercedes the right of someone to work and not pay into the union. If you come from the position of assuming the union’s right to exist profitably, you obviously find my position to be a problem.

            But if you think the individual worker should have the right to work anywhere he damn well pleases without being forced to pay into the union, which is going to spend most of the dues on pet political causes at the 10,000 foot level anyways, you’ll see the right to starve the union should be sacrosanct.

            I’m going to vote for the individual worker every time over the union.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            “But the point is, the union is there to provide a service and if the membership doesn’t find the service worthwhile, they stop paying for it.”

            You don’t understand what a free rider problem is, either.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            “You feel that the union’s right to exist profitably supercedes the right of someone to work and not pay into the union.”

            You need to work on your comprehension skills.

            I didn’t take a position. I explained what a free rider was, and why unions would oppose them and why anti-union activists would favor them.

            Unions oppose voluntary dues payments for the same reason that your local supermarket doesn’t have voluntary payments for its products — because they believe that the voluntary payments will fall short. This shouldn’t be that tough to understand.

          • 0 avatar
            S2k Chris

            “You don’t understand what a free rider problem is, either.”

            No, I understand it just fine, I just don’t think it’s my problem, nor is it one to be solved by law for the union. They can figure it out themselves, or they can fade away.

            You really need to give up this “you don’t agree because you don’t understand” attitude problem you have. It isn’t becoming.

          • 0 avatar
            S2k Chris

            “You need to work on your comprehension skills.

            I didn’t take a position. I explained what a free rider was, and why unions would oppose them and why anti-union activists would favor them. ”

            Your position is readily apparent in your argument of the problem.

            “Unions oppose voluntary dues payments for the same reason that your local supermarket doesn’t have voluntary payments for its products — because they believe that the voluntary payments will fall short. This shouldn’t be that tough to understand.”

            Indeed. And if few shop at the supermarket because prices are too high, what happens? Again, the solution is not to force one to shop at that grocery store.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            “No, I understand it just fine”

            Your comments on the subject make it clear that you don’t understand the definition. Go look it up.

          • 0 avatar
            S2k Chris

            “Your comments on the subject make it clear that you don’t understand the definition. Go look it up.”

            With eyes rolling heavily into the back of my head at your tired, trite, over-used “you don’t get it go look it up” debate “tactic” let me explain it to you.

            The free rider “problem” is that conceivably, the union is negotiating a contract for 100% of the work force, and less than 100% of the work force is potentially paying dues. Therefore, the percentage not paying dues is getting the benefit of a theoretically higher contract negotiated by the union, for which they paid nothing, making them “free riders.”

            Now, what I FURTHER understand is that if the unions want to go on negotiating this contract for the betterment of their members, it is not up to me to solve their problem for them. The free rider problem is THEIR problem. Not mine, not society’s, and not the people who chose not to pay dues. You apparently, through your arguments, demonstrate the idea that we as a society or country need to solve this problem for them. What I’m telling you is “no we don’t.” Either the free rider problem makes it so onerous for them to continue their function that they cease and dissolve, OR even with the drag of the FRP they still get enough of a benefit to continue on.

            Either way, up until now they’ve used the brute force method of law to force people to pay because thats what thugs do, but people are wising up and seeing that the union’s problem is not their own.

            Now knock it off with the whiney “you don’t understand” BS.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            “The free rider “problem” is that conceivably, the union is negotiating a contract for 100% of the work force, and less than 100% of the work force is potentially paying dues. Therefore, the percentage not paying dues is getting the benefit of a theoretically higher contract negotiated by the union, for which they paid nothing, making them “free riders.”

            At last. You didn’t show this level of comprehension with your McDonald’s forced sales example or your other points.

            “Now, what I FURTHER understand is that if the unions want to go on negotiating this contract for the betterment of their members, it is not up to me to solve their problem for them.”

            I never claimed that it was. (You should now type “straw man” into your favorite search engine.)

            Again, Crosley asked why anyone should expect mandatory union dues payments. I answered the question: to avoid the free rider problem.

            Again, I noted that ones inclination to address or not address the free rider does not change the fact that it exists. You obviously don’t care about it, but the union organizers do.

          • 0 avatar
            S2k Chris

            “At last. You didn’t show this level of comprehension with your McDonald’s forced sales example or your other points.”

            No, the fact that you refused to admit my understanding until I laid it out in an elementary fashion using small words that are easy to understand is far more demonstrative of your inability to understand the arguments made because they conflict with your acute little worldview than it does to my understanding of the issue.

            “I never claimed that it was.”

            That’s bollocks and you know it. You’re incredibly transparent. The very fact that you find the Free Rider “Problem” concept so vital to your argument to spend this much time having us explain it to you is indicative of your position. You clearly feel that the FRP is a PROBLEM that the government needs to make go away to sustain the unions, or we wouldn’t even be having this discussion. And before you play the “that’s not what I said go back and read” card, understand what I just said, that it’s clearly apparent underlying in your argument, so stop playing sophomoric word games about it.

            “Again, I noted that ones inclination to address or not address the free rider does not change the fact that it exists. You obviously don’t care about it, but the union organizers do.”

            And I and others have said from post one that it exists, but it isn’t worth solving. That is not spoken from a position of ignorance, no matter how many times you stamp your little feet.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Your McDonald’s analogy was off point. There is a difference between offering a product that the marketplace rejects, and having consumers who take the good without paying for it.

            Your misinterpretation of Crosley’s remarks likewise did you no favors. The guy is arguing vehemently against the existence of the free rider, yet you understood it to be the opposite.

            So I’m pleasantly surprised that you finally got it. I’ll give Psar the credit for that.

            ” The very fact that you find the Free Rider “Problem” concept so vital to your argument to spend this much time having us explain it to you is indicative of your position.”

            Er, you’re back to the comprehension problem again. Crosley asked a question and I answered it. I’m sorry if you don’t like (or understand) the answer, but that is a matter-of-fact explanation of why someone who provides a service would want to mandate payment for it.

          • 0 avatar
            S2k Chris

            “Your McDonald’s analogy was off point. There is a difference between offering a product that the marketplace rejects, and having consumers who take the good without paying for it.”

            People who understand the entire discussion, and not just some phrase they pulled out of their Intro To Business correspondence course workbook, can forgive a small amount of imprecision when analogies are used. The key point in the argument is not the mechanics of paying versus rejecting due to price, it’s that OVERALL the “consumer” (I used those funny little marks to show you I’m representing the labor union member as a consumer, even though we both know they aren’t exactly the same WINK WINK) has rejected the “price” (again, dues aren’t a price, but we’re just making an example, you’ll use this skill again if you take the SATs someday) because they don’t find it agreeable. Now in my ANALOGY (which is different than THE EXACT SAME THING) it draws attention to the fact that someone rejecting the price should not be forced to buy it anyways just because they may get a free hamburger if they don’t.

            “Your misinterpretation of Crosley’s remarks likewise did you no favors. The guy is arguing vehemently against the existence of the free rider, yet you understood it to be the opposite.”

            Let’s unpack that one a bit, shall we? What did Crosley remark?

            “Liberals now have a problem with free riders? That’s what their whole political constituency is made up of.

            But if a union is all about making the lives of the working class better, shouldn’t the fact that ALL workers at the place of employment have better pay not be a problem? Or is this form of social justice only a good thing for those that cough up the money?”

            Ah, he snarkily made fun of the idea that liberalism is all about giving people something for nothing (that’s a common critique people on the right use against people on the left, it is a little ironic that the “tax the wealthy” crowd is so angry about free riders when they’re giving the ride) and then he pointed out that given the usual liberal Utopian ideal that we should all get a living wage no matter how many neck tattoos we have and how many days we call in sick to smoke our medical marijuana, the lefties maybe shouldn’t be so mad when the tables are turned.

            In short, instead of laying his argument out plainly for you so that you would understand because he went A-B-C, he assumed you knew A and would understand a passing reference to B so he went ahead to D E and F.

            In the future, we will recognize that like Bob George your friendly neighborhood Cowboys fan from Bangalore, you need to stay strictly on script to understand the argument and have the points explained to you very explicitly so you don’t get confused. And yes, that was a slightly offensive reference to Indian call centers not being able to diverge from a narrow set of 1-2-3 instructions that I compared your debate skills to, but in reality I have several India resources who work for me that are quite smart and quick on their toes, so I apologize to them for comparing them to a simpleton.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            The key point in the argument is not the mechanics of paying versus rejecting due to price, it’s that OVERALL the “consumer” (I used those funny little marks to show you I’m representing the labor union member as a consumer, even though we both know they aren’t exactly the same WINK WINK) has rejected the “price”…

            Great, now you’re reverting to not understanding what a free rider is. (I should have known better than to think that you grasped this after your initial comments.)

            Hint: A consumer who is being charged an excessive price and is unwilling to pay it is not a free rider.

            “But if a union is all about making the lives of the working class better, shouldn’t the fact that ALL workers at the place of employment have better pay not be a problem?”

            Yeah, I understood his lame point the first time. But that doesn’t change the fact that a union will have overhead costs that it needs to cover, hence the interest in dues collections. This should be easy to understand, which explains why you struggle with this.

          • 0 avatar
            Crosley

            The union is not obligated to represent anyone it doesn’t want to.

            If a labor union doesn’t want to represent workers that haven’t paid its dues, they can present a contract before management for only the workers it wishes to represent.

            So the free rider problem is the union’s own fault. It’s a flawed model that’s only being propped up by antiquated state laws.

            Once workers get to choose whether to pay the Union, they usually opt out. the unions know this, so their main objective is to deny the right for workers to make this choice at all.

          • 0 avatar
            Xeranar

            I’ve tried to read the back and forth but my brain simply stopped because of the sheer stupidity spewing out of S2K, Ronnie, and Crosley.

            Suffice to say the point of the Union getting dues from ALL members is due to the fact that they represent ALL members by default. There are a few unions that force the employers to only handle their unionized employees but they are few and far between. So all RtW does is make it harder to collect dues for receiving the inherent benefit of the contract negotiation. We can go into the complex upper-management and administration costs but the basic reality is an open shop is still wage-floored by the Union’s contract. Nobody works for less because they would immediately join the union to get the better wage. All RtW does is simply make it harder for the Union to collect on their hard work and even then the biggest benefit of RtW isn’t the open shop it’s the forced separation from the payroll. By forcing unions to run a separate system rather than simply leaving it a payroll deduction they make it harder for them to collect.

            So that’s the actual reality, it’s not about joining or not joining, it’s about collecting on already established benefits. Something you whiny right-wingers should be upset about because a business is providing a service without being paid.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            I personally support open shop laws, but I recognize the (obvious) free rider problem and I lack the agenda to destroy the unions that is typical of the “right to work” crowd. Some of the arguments offered by the union busters are incredibly naive at best.

          • 0 avatar
            jacob_coulter

            What if I don’t want to be represented by a union in any way, shape or form? Am I not allowed to be my own agent?

            Why is it automatically assumed that everyone that’s represented by a Union is benefiting?

            There seems to be this automatic assumption that a Union benefits people in all situations. Explain that to the city of Detroit.

          • 0 avatar
            jacob_coulter

            Looks like Pch101 has folded and now supports right to work laws.

            That’s what an “open shop” law is, and that’s what we’ve been arguing the entire time.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            The usual suspects are not very bright.

            It’s pretty obvious that I know that “right to work” is right-wing jargon for an open shop.

            I never once claimed to oppose open shop laws. I do oppose the incredibly lame, factually deficient and politically motivated agendas being advanced here in support of them, and the use of the loaded and inaccurate term “right to work” being used to describe them.

          • 0 avatar
            Landcrusher

            PCH, your need to control the language erupts again. That term has been used for decades, and no matter how much you want to deny it, it describes the point.

            The law is about people having a right to offer their labor in the market without third parties claiming a monopoly on places that pay for work.

            Furthermore, the semantics of the free rider argument are meaningless. If a union gets between an employee and employer without the desire of the employee for them to do that, it’s just not right.

            The analogy is for you to dump manure on my lawn and force me to pay for it as fertilizer when I told you I didn’t want it. It doesn’t matter if my neighbors take a vote and decide every yard should have the manure. It’s just wrong. Argue over whether my refusing to pay makes me a free rider, I don’t care. I also don’t care if it helps my lawn and improves my resale value.

            It also won’t due to trot out speculation that I really don’t want the manure and am lying about my motivations.

          • 0 avatar
            psarhjinian

            “There are a few unions that force the employers to only handle their unionized employees but they are few and far between”

            It’s actually pretty common: you have employers that have unionized and non-unionized job roles. In an automotive OEM, non-union employees include management and clerical.

            Sometimes you’ll see different unions for different professions (eg, in a schoolboard you’d have teachers unions for, well, teachers, public-sector unions for janitors, and then non-union for management and clerical).

            What you almost never see is union and non-union for the same _job_ in the same _site_ for the reasons above: either the person who isn’t a member of the union would pay nothing for the union benefits, or you’d have an problematically complex employment contract necessary to handle it.

            Again, think of “union membership” like “citizenship”. If you have non-citizens of a country without all sorts of thorny issues of which we’re all well aware.

            Personally, in terms of citizenship, I’m part of the “make them all citizens” camp for the same reason I prefer closed-shop.

      • 0 avatar
        Crosley

        If you have a business or political group that can’t raise funds because of a “free rider” problem, that’s the organization’s problem.

        You could argue that any political party “helps” people that don’t pay into it, whatever side of the aisle you’re on. That doesn’t give these organizations the right to take money out of people’s paychecks in order to fund political operations because there may be be “free riders” that benefit while others have donated.

        The idea that millions of workers lose this Constitutional right of Freedom of Association (the right to join or leave groups of a person’s own choosing) all because 2 or 3 Unions have a failed “business model” is disgusting to say the least.

        • 0 avatar
          Xeranar

          @psarhjinian – I’m not sure what you were arguing because management cannot be represented by a union, administration can and sometimes does have representation. The technical difference is that management is in the position of hire and fire, so they are effectively unionized by order of their ability to control the business itself. You admit that you understand what I said but there isn’t much to say beyond that. The point Crosley was desperately trying to make was that he should have the right to bargain his own position away from the union and technically he does. The issue is that unless he wants to spend 40 hours a week working and hire a private attorney or work odd hours to meet with management on their schedule he isn’t going to have the resources to argue his case. Furthermore as an individual worker he has next to no clout to force management to offer him a better deal.

          He’s willfully ignorant which is the problem because he refuses to accept unions on primia facie ground due to his political views. His fight is with some right-wing figment of his imagination and not with the reality of the arguments.

          • 0 avatar
            Landcrusher

            You have clearly not had the real lower management experience. Plenty of people with hire/fire are catching more abuse than most people in a union would dream would happen if they were not unionized. They then get additional abuse from the so called workers and in some cases find the government is predisposed to give them no protections and will deny them many services, and/or be brought in to threaten them.

    • 0 avatar
      reclusive_in_nature

      Is there anything sadder than a bunch of condescending douchebags and blowhards trying to out-jargon each other over and over and over until one gives up over politics ON AN AUTOMOBILE WEBSITE?

  • avatar
    50merc

    Tresmonos, I’m having a hard time understanding your comment at 1:31 pm. Are you saying that in the absence of right to work, there will be a union, and the union contract will prohibit firing employees who violate written no-drug-use policies?

    A related thought: employers here are known to announce plant shutdowns overnight, leaving workers to learn the news when they arrive at the gate the next morning. The logic is that otherwise, a tsunami of “back injuries” will immediately occur among the soon-to-be-laid-off workers.

    BTW, my view is that an employer gets the labor relations it deserves. See the book “A Savage Factory” for the horrible example.

    • 0 avatar
      mikey

      Agreed “Savage Factory” and “Revethead” written from two different perspectives, are both an excellent read. I spent 36 years on the plant floor, and I can smell B.S. from a mile away. I looked for untruths and flaws in both books. Very accurate descriptions of plant life.

  • avatar
    djoelt1

    If auto assemblers want to assemble my car for $13 per hour instead of $25, I can’t stop them. You guys should stop yourselves, but I can’t stop you for yourself.

    • 0 avatar
      FormerFF

      There’s a little problem with that idea. In our economy, most people have to be employees, which means most people have to have a job. There aren’t enough jobs for everyone who needs/wants one, and those left unfilled are either going to be dreadful, or require very specialized skills that are hard to find. Being that most people by definition aren’t qualified for the latter, they will take the best job they can find, even if it doesn’t pay well.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        This.

        And I am incredibly thankful that I am fortunate enough to be in a highly skilled field which is, for now, both difficult to automate and difficult to outsource. I additionally benefit that our education system doesn’t create “cheap replacements” in my field, largely because the communication skills of Gen Y and Millennials suck.

        My future wife is an anesthesiologist, and there is growing concern in their community that in our lifetime they could be replaced — by robots.

  • avatar

    I could not imagine that so many people on TTAC are Union members or so fond of dying obsolete concept from 20th century. Big 3 is lucky (or rather unlucky) to have unions solely because bankruptcy happened under Obama. If it was left to Bush or Republicans or common sense or free market to decide dysfunctional Big 3 would be already dead with their dysfunctional union. And next time which I am absolutely sure will arrive they may be not so lucky. They just testing their luck and it cannot continue forever.

    There are no unions in Silicon Valley. I was laid off few times and then what? I got unemployment benefits, separation packets and even continued to be covered by health care insurance without any unions. Just do not be lazy and look for the new job or get education. Future is purely robotics. There is no future for manufacturing jobs.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    What baffles me is that so much time, energy, and especially money is being spent to organize a group of people that are reasonably well paid and enjoy decent working conditions already. Walmart needs to be unionized, fast food joints need to be unionized, the southern auto plants certainly do not need to be unionized. But I suppose this is not so much about “unions”, but about A union, the UAW. Which has soiled its rustbelt based bed to the point of uninhabitability, and now is looking for a new host.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      The UAW is a big business, and they are susceptible to the same problems as every other big business. They need to maintain market share, profitability, etc. They have a fairly limited area to sell their wares, so they try to get into every one they can. If they believed it was profitable to try and unionize Wal-Mart, they would.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        I certainly wouldn’t expect the UAW to unionize Walmart – not their industry. But with the largest workforce in the country and actually needing the benefits of unionization, some union should take them on.

        Ultimately, I think the UAW is doomed. Maybe they should diversify.

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          It could happen. In Canada, the CAW realized they wouldn’t make it by relying on auto worker dues so they merged into a mega union that represents workers accross many industries.

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    I thought “right to work” meant “right to be fired from your job for no reason and be stuck trying to get another job while having no money”.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    I do think this is a great move by the counties. People who want to be a part of a political movement can do so if they wish.

    I do think in over the next couple of decades unions will become the flavour of the month again. This time it will not be so much the “blue collar” workers.

    If I were a betting man I would say anyone involved in a job that has recurring processes will become robotic or AI.

    How many professional middle class jobs sit in this bracket? I’ve read 65%.

    As I’ve mention on this site previously, the late 19th century with the advent of the electric motor removed many (then) middle class jobs. Process workers multiplied rapidly to create consumer goods.

    Socialists and their union brethren multiplied like locust to infect to world with their communal ideals in the search for Utopia.

    It’s about the occur again, it’s already started.

    We will be the better for it in the longer run after some more re-adjustment of our economies and politics.

    What I find really odd about this is the fact that most middle class jobs historically can and will be replaced by machines/AI/robotics.

    The jobs that are the hardest to replace are the “menial” low paying jobs that are difficult to be done by a machine or computer.

    So, are the textile workers, burger flippers and farmhands grossly under paid. Are we so called “smart” people not as clever as we thought?

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