January 26, 2012
-- by Dave Johnson
Indiana is about to pass what is called a "right-to-work" law. These laws prohibit union contracts from requiring workers to be in the union and paying dues to the union, while forcing the unions to provide full benefits to the non-unions members for free. The idea is to weaken and defund the union's (99%) ability to push back against the big corporations (1%).
Indiana is poised to become the first state in the upper Midwest to follow the lead of Southern "right to work" states, taking a big step Tuesday to bar unions from requiring nonunion workers to pay membership dues for representation in bargaining.
... Democrats framed the bill's passage as a political maneuver by Republicans to weaken union strength in the state.
“The only places where today’s events will be cheered is in the boardrooms of big businesses and corporations across this state," said the top House Democrat, Patrick Bauer, in a statement Tuesday. "The House Republicans just helped increase the profit margins for these companies at the expense of their workers.”
Union dues have long been a target of Republican lawmakers, who say those dues are often used to further a Democratic agenda and to elect Democrats to office. The right-to-work legislation hits unions right in their pocketbooks, reducing their ability to wield clout in elections and during negotiations over labor contracts.
Dean Baker of the Center for Economic and Policy Research explains that this is really just a tax on union members, in Indiana Imposes Tax on Workers Who Support Unions,
The NYT reported that Indiana's legislature approved a measure that requires that the workers who support a union at the workplace pay for the representation of the workers who choose not to pay for the union's representation. It would have been helpful to remind readers that a union is legally obligated to represent all the workers in a bargaining unit, regardless of whether a worker has opted to join the union.
This means that non-members not only get the same wages and benefits that the union gets for its members, they also are entitled to the union's protection in the event of disputes with the employer. Most states allow workers to sign contracts that require non-union members to pay for the benefits they receive from the union.
The bill passed by Indiana's legislature prohibits unions and employers from signing this sort of contract. Instead, it requires unions to provide free representation to non-members.
So Indiana and other states say, by law, that unions have to pay for contract negotiations, have to pay for union reps to handle grievance cases, etc., and are not allowed to require those they represent and who benefit from labor contracts to join the union and pay dues.
This is just one more scam by the 1% to keep the 99% from being able to do anything about their condition.
Posted by Dave Johnson at January 26, 2012 2:04 PM
Please don't propagate right wing talking points. Taft-Hartley of 1947 prohibits forcing people to join unions for employment. It does, however, allow the collection of those parts of dues used for representation and collective bargaining from non-members, commonly referred to as "agency fees" so the non-,members can't freeload on the membership. RTW laws permit this freeloading. The correct term in non RTW states is agency shop. Taft Hartley outlawed both closed shops and union shops.
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