Saying ‘No Thanks’ to Union Bosses

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Happy National Employee Freedom Week!

A “national effort to inform union employees about the freedoms they have to opt out of union membership and let them make the decision that’s best for them,” National Employee Freedom Week is sponsored by “a coalition of national, state and local organizations dedicated to employee freedom.” The week’s founding organizations are the Nevada Policy Research Institute and Association of American Educators. Many state-level think tanks, including the Rio Grande Foundation, participate.

Employees in “organized” workplaces are often told that they must join the union and pay full dues in order to keep their jobs. It’s not true — several U.S. Supreme Court decisions have recognized the right to decline union membership. In addition, workers covered by collective-bargaining agreements cannot be required to pay more than the portion of their dues that fund legitimate union activities, such as contract administration and grievance adjudication. (In right-to-work states, such “agency fees” are not permitted.)

Here’s a helpful link for New Mexico’s private-sector workers who want the specifics on employee freedom. The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation has a guide for state- and local-government workers here.

Additionally, polling on two questions relating to unionism is being released today: For National Employee Freedom Week, 2016, union members were asked two questions about employee freedom. In addition to asking if union members would like to opt out of their union, NEFW also looked at the support for “Workers Choice” reforms, which would allow employees who opt out to negotiate directly with their employer.

Question 1: If it were possible to opt out of membership in a labor union without losing your job or any other penalty, would you do it?

Nationally, respondents said:

Yes: 28.7

No: 71.3

Question 2: If employees opt out of union membership and stop paying dues or fees to the union, should they instead represent themselves in negotiations with their employer?

In New Mexico, respondents said:

Yes: 54.7

No: 45.3

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