Right to Work

Don't Put Right-to-Work in the Virginia Constitution

Right-to-work laws are a response to federal mandates, and don't belong in state constitutions.

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Last week Republicans in the Virginia General Assembly passed a measure that would write a debatable law into the state's Constitution. This is starting to become a bad habit.

A decade ago (and with some Democratic help) Republicans passed the Marshall-Newman amendment, which elevated the state's prohibition on gay marriage to constitutional status. Thanks to the Supreme Court that is now a dead letter, as well it should be.

The new measure would similarly elevate Virginia's right-to-work law. This is a bad idea, although the reasons are a bit complicated.

To begin with, right-to-work laws look like an improper governmental intrusion into worker-employer relations. They stipulate that Acme Widgets cannot require Joe the Mechanic to join a union as a condition of employment. But in a perfectly free market—one governed by the ideal of mutual consent—Acme should be able to make employment contingent upon any conditions it wants. If the conditions are too onerous, then it won't find enough employees, and it will lose the economic race to more kindly employers. (Why would an employer want to make union membership a condition of employment in the first place? Probably because an agreement with a union required it to.)

Of course, labor relations in the U.S. are very far from a perfectly free market. They are governed, among other things, by the 1935 Wagner Act, which sought to compensate for the "inequality of bargaining power between employees who do not possess full freedom of association or actual liberty of contract" and employers who could exercise the power of collective action through legal incorporation.

This might be fine as far as it went, but the Wagner Act didn't stop there. It also granted workers the right not to join a union—unless "such a right may be affected by an agreement requiring membership in a labor organization." Moreover, the Act stipulated that there could be only one bargaining representative for any given set of employees, and employers could be compelled to bargain with it. This meant that even if another union came along that could do more for Acme's workers, they couldn't avail themselves of that opportunity—by law.

Granting unions workplace monopolies like that was going too far for many people, especially in light of the widespread strikes that took place after World War 2. The result was the 1947 Taft-Hartley Act, which allowed states to pass right-to-work laws.

There are those—such as Sheldon Richman, writing in Reason—who argue that two wrongs don't make a right: The proper way to correct the excesses of the Wagner Act is to correct the excesses of the Wagner Act, rather than to address them through countervailing government interference at the state level. This makes excellent sense. Any other approach simply invites what has been called "kludgeocracy."

As Steven Teles explains in National Affairs, the word root is borrowed from computer programming: "A kludge is an inelegant patch put in place to solve an unexpected problem and designed to be backward-compatible with the rest of an existing system. When you add up enough kludges, you get a very complicated program that has no clear organizing principle, is exceedingly difficult to understand, and is subject to crashes."

On the other side are those—such as Shikha Dalmia, also writing in Reason—who argue that right-to-work laws make sense in the real world. For one thing, she notes, right-to-work laws achieve Pareto optimality: They make some parties better off without making other parties any worse off:

Wagner mandated closed shops [those requiring union membership as a condition of employment] and right-to-work laws ban closed shops. At best, employers are equally constrained under both scenarios. However, by making (union) dues payment optional, right-to-work laws vastly increase the freedom of workers, giving them more power to hold union bosses accountable for waste and corruption.

This also makes excellent sense. So Virginia's right-to-work law is, on balance, at least defensible and perhaps even good. (There is another debate about whether workers are better or worse off in right-to-work states when you look at wage levels, employment levels, and so on. But that is a consequentialist, pick-your-own-statistics debate well worth skipping here.)

Still, not every good idea belongs in the Constitution. It's a good idea to carry an umbrella if it looks like rain—but we don't need a constitutional amendment for that, do we?

As Democrats in the state Senate quickly pointed out, Virginia's right-to-work law has thrived, unmolested, for more than four decades now. It does not seem to be in even slight peril.

But it should not become part of the state Constitution even if it were in peril. After all, it is nothing but a response to federal legislation. Writing constitutional provisions to answer legislative mandates dilutes the purpose of having a constitution in the first place.

As the legal theorist H.L.A. Hart explained, generally speaking there are two kinds of rules. Primary rules dictate behavior ("Men shall wear hats in church"). Secondary rules are the rules about making primary rules ("Congress shall make no law. . . "). Constitutions are, or should be, made up of secondary rules. Right-to-work laws, however, are primary rules that proscribe certain behavior. They belong in the state code—not in the Constitution.

This column originally appeared in the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

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  1. Hinkle quoting both Richman and Dalmia in the same column?!

    (heads explode)

    1. And both their arguments seem sensible.

    2. Cat,

      The Author is clearly very book smart, but here we have a clearly street smart idea, dont force unions on workers. Author: I see an idealistic issue that ironically means we should allow workers to be forced into unions sometimes.

      Another ideal picture: Author should engage in seminar after seminar with other highly intelligent libertarians who agree on this, free borders, and zero drug laws and sex regulation laws. While you are all busy, we pass this thing that looks, smells, walks, talks and boogaloo’s like more freedom.

  2. Writing constitutional provisions to answer legislative mandates dilutes the purpose of having a constitution in the first place.

    Oh, I disagree. A constitutional provision can be the only good and permanent(ish) answer to a legislative mandate, when that mandate is over-reaching by the government.

    I’m not enough of an expert on the Supremacy Clause to know whether a state constitutional provision is a better bulwark against federal over-reach than a state statute (which is no bulwark at all).

    Consider the feds favorite tool for bullying states, though: the threat to withhold federal funding. A state faced with such a threat might find it easier to buckle if all it had to do was pass a new law. If it has to amend its own constitution, though, that’s a harder process.

    1. This^^

      NLRB uses regulatory diktat to quash both states and businesses when it comes to ‘Right to Work’.

      I’ve seen numerous and regular occurances of this, that I’d never have known about, if it weren’t for this site.

      As far as I know, the only thing that overrides state constitutions are federal judges legislating from the bench.

    2. I was a Stewart as was my wife. I would argue that unions are just another way to tax the employee. Some people need the comfort of union brothers fine let them be in a union. If I want I own way in life leave me to my own fortunes. Under any other name than union dues, forcing people to pay to work would be a felony.

  3. “As Democrats in the state Senate quickly pointed out, Virginia’s right-to-work law has thrived, unmolested, for more than four decades now. It does not seem to be in even slight peril.”

    So what? If it’s not at peril then it makes little difference. It seems like putting it in the Constitution is an attempt to bulwark the law from a potential rising blue tide. Republicans have a much better ground-game in Virginia but with the growth of DC seemingly never ending, it looks like it’s only a matter of time. (Given the amount they receive from Unions it would only help Democrats to remove the law, even if it does harm the economy.)

    1. Yeah. If something’s good, why should the esthetics of legal organiz’n override it as a desideratum?

  4. Let’s look at the phrasing of the proposed amendment.

    “Any agreement or combination between any employer and any labor union or labor organization whereby nonmembers of the union or organization are denied the right to work for the employer, or whereby such membership is made a condition of employment or continuation of employment by such employer, or whereby any such union or organization acquires an employment monopoly in any enterprise, is against public policy and constitutes an illegal combination or conspiracy and is void.”

    As the author indicates, these contracts are generally worked out in part under federal pressure, such that it’s really had to tell what the company might have done in an atmosphere of pure legal freedom. That’s largely a speculative question until such time as Congress gets rid of the Wagner Act.

    “As Democrats in the state Senate quickly pointed out, Virginia’s right-to-work law has thrived, unmolested, for more than four decades now. It does not seem to be in even slight peril.”

    Which is why the Democrats voted against the amendment. Because it’s meaningless and nonthreatening to them and their union backers.

    (Strictly, the Dems claim to oppose this measure because they think it’s a get-out-the-vote move for Republican base voters)

  5. Plus, ultimately Right-to-work statutes are just as much a violation of freedom of association as the Feds bullshit pro-union laws. If an employer wants to enforce a closed shop with a union it should be their right to do so. No union, union for those who want it, all union, or whatever they prefer should be an option and they can live or die by the consequences of their choice.

    1. This proposed amendment doesn’t apply to employers who, outside the context of a union contract or a combination with a union, unilaterally decide, gosh, we want a union shop.*

      The amendment would only be triggered if the a company tries to set up a closed shop through an “agreement or combination” with a union.

      These agreements or combinations are all tainted by the coercive pro-union laws, which use federal guns to tilt the playing field in a union direction.

      Closed shops simply tip the playing field all the way over.

      Banning closed shops means the federally-backed unions may still tilt the playing field but not as far as they otherwise would have.

      *Maybe other labor laws would apply, but not the proposed amendment.

      1. The amendment would only be triggered if the a company tries to set up a closed shop through an “agreement or combination” with a union.

        These agreements or combinations are all tainted by the coercive pro-union laws, which use federal guns to tilt the playing field in a union direction.

        I understand why the laws have been passed, but an employer should still have a right to set up a closed shop through an agreement with a union. People who don’t like it can quit, no one has a right to a job.

        1. Yes, the “right” answer is to enshrine free association in the Constitution, and just keep the “right-to-work” law at the legislative level as the “closest approximation” the state is allowed by the federal courts to enact.

          1. Putting free association in the Constitution would be a great idea and would protect employers who forbid, and who insist on, union membership.

            While waiting for the freedom-of-association amendment, the states are entitled to defend their own citizens against federal coercion, using tools specifically recognized by federal statute.

            1. the states are entitled to defend their own citizens against federal coercion, using tools specifically recognized by federal statute

              Yes, which they have already done with by statute. The question of constitutional amendment vs statutory law at the state level has nothing to do with the feds, since the federal courts will override both with equal abandon.

              1. I think your 12:49 post answers your own point.

                The federal courts are gonna do what they’re gonna do.

                For the present moment, though, Congress and the federal courts will back off in the face of a right-to-work law and won’t impose a union shop.

                And a state constitutional amendment provides against the possibility of a Democratic legislature repealing the right-to-work law.

          2. Posted too soon…

            However, the current legislature of Virginia may feel that the future legislature of Virginia will overturn the “right-to-work” law, and if the commerce clause is any indication, putting abstract principles into the constitution even with accompanying documentation of intent is no guarantee of a particular outcome.

        2. an employer should still have a right to set up a closed shop through an agreement with a union.

          If the agreement was freely entered into, yes. However, in the context of federal labor law, few to none of them actually are, because the employer is forced to the table by law.

    2. Yes, what should go in the constitution is enshrining the right of employers and employees to freely associate with each other. But I find Hinkle’s argument about “not every good idea” unconvincing; Virginians can’t do anything about the federal courts, but they can do something about their own legislature.

      1. Last time I checked, Virginians had 13 electoral votes for president (who selects Federal judges) and two senators (who approve Federal judges).

        So “can’t do anything about the federal courts” doesn’t seem accurate. They have representation for that decision process just like everyone else.

        1. Last time *I* checked, the federal government has no authority to regulate economic activity occurring within a state. That the courts have grossly misconstrued federal authority is a problem that Virginia’s 11 representatives, 2 senators, and 13 electoral votes cannot fix by themselves. Not that they’d all be in agreement about it, anyway.

          What I said was hyperbole, but it was not that far off the mark.

          1. Last time I checked, the federal government didn’t give a shit about whether or not they had that authority, because Congress & SCOTUS kept abusing the Commerce Clause like a Saudi child bride (cases in point: Wickard v. Philburn, Gonzales v. Reich).

      2. Yes, what should go in the constitution is enshrining the right of employers and employees to freely associate with each other

        Well now you’ve killed the minimum wage and maybe child labor laws to boot. No one is going to vote for that.

    3. Plus, ultimately Right-to-work statutes are just as much a violation of freedom of association as the Feds bullshit pro-union laws.

      Only if you view them in isolation. Put them in the context of federal labor law, and they start looking a lot like a defense of freedom of association against a much more intrusive law.

      1. Yes it is. But good luck getting them over their Pavlovian response on this issue.

        1. Something…perfect being the enemy of the good (or least bad)…something.

  6. So the website claiming support for “Free Markets and Free Minds” is now arguing against Right to Work.

    Nice.

    I expect the next story will explain how Free (government paid) Tuition, is the new Libertarian moment for College Education.

    1. “Free Markets Free Minds” means “Open Borders, Gay Marriage, Legal Hookers and Pot”. Everything else is negotiable.

    2. A law forbidding employers from freely entering into a closed shop agreement with a union is a restriction on the free market.

      1. So is a law forbidding employers to demand their employees give up their freedom of speech and rights against search and seizure. Would you object to that law as well?

        Any law restricting behavior is an restriction on the free market.

        1. The fuck are you on about? An employer absolutely should be allowed to fire someone for their speech. That is not a violation of the 1st amendment. And they absolutely should be allowed to have the police search their own company property. What kind of socialist worker’s paradise are you advocating for here?

          1. An employer absolutely should be allowed to fire someone for their speech.

            So if every employer is a town got together and made an agreement with the cops that they would not hire anyone who didn’t agree to give up their 4th Amendment rights and consent to any search the police wanted and any person who didn’t consent would be fired, you would be okay with that?

            Are you really that simple minded? You don’t understand why that is incontestable with a free society just because private citizens are doing it?

            1. Look, again, I know principles are difficult you, but I’m a libertarian and believe in the free market. A socialist like you is just never going to agree.

              1. Now I see why some people refer to John as “Red Tony”. This is ridiculous.

                1. In this case he’d be a Red Tony hooking around from the other side.

                  But it’s an interesting proposition I’d never considered. You might say drug-user testing already accomplishes some of that. And how could you ever say the employers were doing it w/o gov’t coercion?

              2. So you would be okay with that. I and the rest of the non totalitarian world would have a big problem with that.

                And yes, I know you have no idea how to apply your principles and use them as a substitute for thinking by mindlessly applying them no matter how absurd or harmful the result. You have made that abundantly clear. You don’t have to keep restating it.

                1. You don’t have to be ok with that to think Government interference is an improper solution. The whole point of Free Markets is that all participants choose their participation. In your scenario, all the employers have chosen to do something obviously awful, and you want a law to prevent it; the free market solution is that we all move to the next town over and watch totalitown die off

      2. A law forbidding employers from freely entering into a closed shop agreement with a union

        If only employers were freely entering into contracts with unions. They are not, under federal labor law, given a choice.

        1. Right to work laws don’t solve the federal labor law problem they merely attempt to cover them up with their own set of violations of the free market and freedom of association and contract.

          1. They mitigate the harm from them. That is the whole point. What the fuck are you on about? Seriously?

            1. I’m on about the free market. I was under the impression that I was on a website whose motto is “Free Minds and Free Markets” not “Free Markets except when people do things I don’t like.” Someone who believes in the free market should support abolishing both federal labor laws and right-to-work laws. Someone who believe in the free market certainly should describe the relationship between an employer and an employee as coercive as you have. That’s some marxian “wage slavery” bullshit.

      3. Yes, but not having the law would cause a law that says the exact opposite to take effect, which would also be a restriction on the free market. Until the Wagner act is repealed, the only choice states have is which restriction is less destructive.

  7. Right to work laws are only a violation of your freedom of association if you think that only the government can violate your rights. That is just bullshit. Closed union shops are nothing but an employer and a union colluding to force employees to give up their right to free association as a condition of working there. Would reason be okay with employers colluding to make giving up other rights as a condition of employment? Hey, how about we let employers fire anyone who refuses consent to a police search? I mean if an employer hates people won’t respect the authority of the cops, they should be able to fire anyone who doesn’t share that opinion, right? And if an entire town or state collude with the police union to make giving up your 4th Amendment rights a condition of employment in that area, well those things happen.

    Your right not to have to join a union is every bit as much of a right as your right to not consent to a police search. People should not be able to condition employment on giving up your constitutional rights. It is not like your paying the union thugs has any bearing on your ability to do your job or provide value to your employer.

    Right to work is nothing but your right to free association in the workplace. It is exactly the kind of thing that belongs in a constitution, especially when you consider how the right to free association is under such constant assault.

    1. I wasn’t “okay” with Brendan Eich’s firing, but I absolutely would defend the Mozilla Foundation’s right to fire him.

      Your employer should be legally permitted to fire you for whatever reason crosses his mind, provided that he is not breaching any contract that he and you voluntarily entered into.

      You keep falling back to some notion that the state produces a society; it is the other way around. If Mozilla had been forced to keep Eich around, it might have been better for him, it might have been better for “society”, it might even have been better for the Foundation’s bottom line in the long run; but the underlying factors that forced him out would not magically disappear, and the notion that the government is ultimately in charge of all business decisions is far more pernicious and enduring than the cultural zeitgeist.

      1. How is living in a society where your employer will fire you for holding the wrong political views and worse still if you hold an unpopular view a mob will show up and given them no choice but the fire you any better than living in a society where the government will force your employer to fire you if you hold a political view it doesn’t like?

        The result is the same in either case and each society is just as repressive.

        You keep falling back to some notion that the state produces a society;

        No. You keep falling back on the idea that the government is the only and always the main threat to your freedom. And that is just not true. The government can and often is a threat to your freedom but society at large can be even more of a threat. And when it is, the government can actually be what protects your freedom. This is one of the great Libertarian blind spots. Libertarians cannot account for or cope with a situation where the majority of the society totally fucks a minority and is committed enough to it that even the threat of market forces doesn’t help. Mozilla was much worse off for firing their CEO. It was a poor business decision. But that doesn’t matter or make the situation any better. They still fired the CEO and every other CEO is on notice that if you run afoul of the mob you will be fired no matter how good you are at your job. That is not freedom.

        1. I never said the government was the only threat to freedom.

          I said the government is a more enduring and more insidious threat to freedom than any other. Today, they have the power to order Mozilla to rehire Eich; tomorrow, they have the power to order Mozilla to fire all the Eichs.

          You say society put CEOs on notice (Eich was a CTO, but whatever); I say being on notice is better than being categorically fired with no recourse whatsoever! Eich has started a new company and has many supporters (he did, after all, create JavaScript and shepherd its development). If the government could dictate who companies hire and fire over political beliefs, then it could just as well put him out of work forever.

          1. Today, they have the power to order Mozilla to rehire Eich; tomorrow, they have the power to order Mozilla to fire all the Eichs.

            Sloppy wording. Should be:

            “Today, they might have the power to order Mozilla to rehire Eich. Tomorrow, they would have the power to order all the companies to fire all the Eichs.”

            1. And right now, it is would be illegal for an anti-Mozilla to fire an anti-Eich.

          2. I said the government is a more enduring and more insidious threat to freedom than any other. Today, they have the power to order Mozilla to rehire Eich; tomorrow, they have the power to order Mozilla to fire all the Eichs.

            And the mob doesn’t face the same slippery slope? They are just going to stop at Mozilla? There is nothing special about the government. Society can be just as evil. If you don’t believe me look at the French Revolution or more recently what happened in Rwanda. We all hear about the reign of terror but that was not when most of the killing happened. Most of the killing was done in the form of mob violence. The reign of terror was actually an attempt to stop the killing by placating the mob. And all fo the killing in Rwanda was done by private citizens and not the government.

            You are like most Libertarians sadly mistaken in your obsession with government. You only obsess over government because you are lucky enough to live in a relatively open and free society. If you didn’t, you would quickly understand that society can be a much bigger threat to your freedom than government. The Mozilla example should show you that. But it doesn’t because you like the cause the guy was fired for objecting to and you lack the imagination to see where that leads.

            1. But it doesn’t because you like the cause the guy was fired for objecting to and you lack the imagination to see where that leads.

              Put away the crystal ball, Miss Cleo.

              I know “where it leads” because I’m living in the world where it happened. You are arguing like reality is a counterfactual. Moreover, what part of anything I said conveys to you that I support the reasons why Eich was fired?

              The French Revolution is a terrible example for the point you are trying to make, since one can’t get much more suppressive of “the mob” than fucking Louis “I am the State” XIV and his successors. How much can you check the mob when your head is cut off?

              1. It is a perfect example. If you knew anything about it, you would see that. The French Revolution is an exposition in the dangers of mob violence.

                And if you are living in the world of Mozilla, then it should bother you that you can and will be fired for expressing the wrong political opinion.

                1. Of course it bothers me, you illiterate. The government can’t fix it without becoming a tool of the people who want to see it happen!

                  1. I am not saying the government can fix every situation. I am saying the government can fix the oppression that is resulting from the federal labor laws and it has a duty to do so. We are talking about right to work laws here.

                    1. We are talking about right to work laws here.

                      Yes, and absent the federal interference in the labor market, there should not be “right-to-work” laws any more than there should be “right-to-organize” laws.

                      If somebody wants to run a business as a closed shop, that is his right; just as it is his right to run a business free of union members.

            2. And the mob doesn’t face the same slippery slope? They are just going to stop at Mozilla? There is nothing special about the government. Society can be just as evil. If you don’t believe me look at the French Revolution or more recently what happened in Rwanda

              We aren’t talking about the government letting people kill each other. Killing is still illegal, even if you let employers require their employees to join unions. Those employees are just out a job (which isn’t a right), they aren’t out of their life (which is a right).

              1. Some guy,

                They don’t have to murder you to take away your freedom. Do you really think you are free if you live in a society where publicly holding an unpopular opinion means losing your job?

                1. Do you really think you are free if you live in a society where publicly holding an unpopular opinion means losing your job?

                  Yes. That’s how freedom of association can be a solution to things like racism. Would you really be free in a society where you’re not allowed to fire an overt racist?

                  You have a strange definition of freedom, John. It seems to require that no one ever suffer any negative consequences for engaging in non-violent anti-social behavior. You don’t really believe in freedom of association at all.

                  1. then some guy you have no idea what freedom is and are happy to live in chains as long as those chains come from someone other than the government. I don’t want to live in anyone’s chains thank you.

                    1. I don’t want to live in anyone’s chains thank you.

                      You may not want to live in anyone’s chains, but you’re perfectly happy slapping them on other people. If you won’t let an employer fire an overt racist then you’re putting that employer in chains, and you’re a hypocrite.

                      Also, you still haven’t answered my question at 1:27 below:

                      “Can my employer force me to associate with him as a condition of employment? Can he force me to associate with clients/suppliers/customers as a condition of employment? What’s the difference between these and a union? All are third parties that the employer may or may not consider to be essential for his business to function.”

        2. I mean shit, which is worse, Kristallnacht or the Holocaust?

          And better yet, what good did the government of Germany do, to stop the one from turning into the other, when the government could be captured by the perpetrators?

          1. What do you think enabled the Holocaust? Do you think the holocaust just came from nowhere? It would have never happened had there not been a society ready to support it and perpetrate it. The Nazi government never made anyone kill. They just enabled people to do what they already wanted to.

            1. And so, what? Should the government have been able to blackball anyone remotely like a Nazi, in order to keep them from taking over? Well, that’s what Europe is doing right now!

              You’re basically saying that the government should be able to do the sorts of things that in most other contexts you would say they should have no power to do.

              So much for principles and processes, let’s just focus on results…

              1. The government is only as much danger as the society it governs. If you do nothing to prevent the society from becoming intolerant and evil, it is inevitable that the government will follow suit. Absent foreign invasion and occupation, the government just enables what the society wants.

                1. the government just enables what the society wants

                  Which is why the question must be about government power and not government intentions!

                  If you do nothing to prevent the society from becoming intolerant and evil

                  YOU prevent it. The soapbox, the ballot box, and the ammo box, in that order, protect a man’s liberties.

                  Eich has not been deprived of anything but a particular position at a particular organization. No one but the government can deprive him of every position at every organization.

        3. The government can and often is a threat to your freedom but society at large can be even more of a threat. And when it is, the government can actually be what protects your freedom

          You’re basically arguing that government should be able to force bakers to bake cakes for gay people now. After all, if the “mob” decides gay people shouldn’t get cakes, then gay people’s freedom to buy cakes has been infringed.

          Do you really believe this?

      2. Sometimes a state does produce a society, as was the case w many of the American colonies.

    2. People should not be able to condition employment on giving up your constitutional rights

      Right to work is nothing but your right to free association in the workplace.

      So are you for freedom of association or against it? Because you’re giving mixing signals here.

      Also, Constitutional rights protect me from the government, not my employer. The Constitution says the government can’t beat me up without a good reason. Laws say that other people can’t beat me up without a good reason. That doesn’t mean I can’t go sign a waiver and engage in a prize fight.

      1. I am for free association. It is a right and your employer should not be able to force you to associate with a union as a condition of employment.

        And the Constitution doesn’t define the entire universe of your rights. It doesn’t matter if the Constitution protects the right not to join a union, you still have that right. Therefore amending the Virginia constitution to reflect that is a good thing.

        1. It is a right and your employer should not be able to force you to associate with a union as a condition of employment.

          Can my employer force me to associate with him as a condition of employment? Can he force me to associate with clients/suppliers/customers as a condition of employment? What’s the difference between these and a union? All are third parties that the employer may or may not consider to be essential for his business to function.

          It doesn’t matter if the Constitution protects the right not to join a union, you still have that right. Therefore amending the Virginia constitution to reflect that is a good thing.

          This amendment doesn’t protect my right to not join a union. It infringes my employer’s right to place conditions upon my employment.

    3. This is the same bullshit argument used to support expanding anti-discrimination laws to gays. After all, allowing the free market to work is just employers and icky Christians colluding to force employees to give up their right have relationships with whomever they want right?

      1. That is a completely half witted analogy. Is there an entire set of federal labor laws that promote being straight and allow employers to collude with churches to ensure gays don’t get hired? Not last I looked.

        Well, there is just that with regard to unions. Therefore, right to work is in no way analogous to gays. It is a shame it isn’t because if it were, Libertarians might be able to understand their importance. Gay rights seems to be the only kind of right that Libertarians understand or value these days.

        1. Its not half-witted, its the same violation of freedom of association. Employers should be able to hire or fire employees for whatever reason they want, whether it be for being gay or refusing to join a union. It is the exact same principle.

          1. So a state law that protects you from the coercion and collusion of employers and unions that have been enabled by the federal government is a “violation of freedom of association”?

            Freedom really is slavery I guess. I am sorry the world isn’t so simple that you can just look at things in isolation and mindless apply your ideology. The world is complex and you have to see things in context to understand what they are.

            1. I’m sorry that principles are difficult for you John. Firing someone for not joining a union is not coercion, you have no right to a job.

              1. You don’t have principles. You use principles as an excuse for not thinking. Having principles necessarily means knowing how to apply them. Its called applied ethics for a reason.

    4. I would support these arguments if there really was a level playing field in the labor world. And by that I mean:

      1) If Joe Laborer had no problem starting his own business if there were absolutely no companies around that would hire him because of his “fuck unions” attitude;

      2) If the government didn’t have in place a fuckton of regulations, permits, licenses, fees, and other red tape designed to discourage the proliferation of startup businesses and keep the megacorporations (who either wrote those regulations or paid lawmakers millions to write them) in power;

      3) If someone who needed a license (due to common-sense safety concerns) for a particular trade was able to obtain it without spending a ridiculous amount of money or meeting requirements that have no bearing at all to their trade;

      4) and there were strict laws against deficit spending by the government, so that if public-sector unions demand more money from their employers, the taxpayers would feel the full brunt of the impact from increased spending.

  8. Right-to-Work laws are an imperfect solution to The Wagner Act.
    Recognition of same-sex marriage is an imperfect solution to Government marriages.
    The TPP is an imperfect solution to Free Trade Deals.

    But somehow limited immigration is not an imperfect solution to the Welfare State.

    1. … there has been as much ink spilled about the first three issues as the fourth. Your “but somehow” presupposes a condition that does not exist.

      1. But none of it from the official posts themselves. Gay marriage is considered an acceptable if not downright good compromise, but no compromise is ever acceptable on immigration.

        1. Apparently, if you want to get the attention of the writers, you have to go on Twitter. Although that may not last through the new Ministry of Love and Truth or whatever the fuck it’s called era.

          1. I don’t see attention as the problem but consistency.

            1. I got that. I was saying, albeit tongue-in-cheek, that Milo’s comment is in the wrong forum.

    2. You must be new.

    3. But those other imperfect solutions stay close to their respective problems, while limiting immigration is at a much farther remove from the problem it addresses, & therefore has much more in the way of side effects.

  9. My last pay check was $16400 working 8 hours a week online. My sisters friend has been averaging 8k for months now and she works about 19 hours a week. I can’t believe how easy it was once I tried it out. This is what I do…….

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  10. So we have a web of federal labor laws that give unions an enormous amount of power that they would never have absent government intervention and as a result of these people all over the country are forced to join unions as a condition of employment. So the state government comes in and mitigates this by giving people the right to refuse to join a union if they wish. And the libertarian response to this is “that is a violation of the employer’s freedom”. Really, you guys are this fucking stupid and simple minded?

    I have three words for you, Colonel Bat Guano. Here is an example of a really principled Libertarian you guys should love. That is private property and someone should have to answer to the Coca Cola company.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DUAK7t3Lf8s

    1. Trigger Warning; although a principled, freedom loving Libertarian, Col Guano is not gay affirming.

    2. Do you try to be obtuse, or is it just something that comes to you.

      EVERY SINGLE PERSON who has commented on this matter has made it clear that the issue with “right-to-work” laws is made in a context ABSENT OF “a web of federal labor laws that give unions an enormous amount of power”.

      English, motherfucker, do you speak it?

      1. That will come as a hell of a surprise to Apatheist. Before you accuse people of being illiterate, you might want to read the threads yourself you fucking half wit.

        If you don’t like the logical implications of your position, take another position. Its called thinking. You should try it sometime or try harder if you have.

        1. You read alleged intent, not words. I never once said nor even hinted that I agree with why Eich was fired, yet somehow that is what you decide is the best way to rebut my argument.

          1. That is not what we are talking about. We are talking about right to work laws. Yes I know you don’t agree with it. I just wish you would understand what a dire threat to everyone’s freedom the mentality behind that firing is.

            Right to work laws are a necessary response to a situation created by federal labor laws. They are not in this context an infringement on freedom. They might be in other circumstances but not in this one.

            1. They are not in this context an infringement on freedom.

              That’s fine that you see it that way, and I don’t really disagree, but if you take away “this context” then there is a different argument.

              You keep waffling between two different contexts.

        2. I’m only arguing with you John not the people stating that right-to-work laws are a necessary evil. You are espousing anti-free market views and support those laws on principle. Its the same bullshit rhetoric you espoused in the past when you argued that boycotts are coercive and totalitarian. Because you don’t actually believe in freedom of association.

          1. If a boycott is coercive and totalitarian, then what is an election?

            A boycott “costs” a company some revenue (presuming the boycotter was ever going to patronize the company anyway); an election could cost every company a lot of revenue.

          2. So in the context of reality and not some hypothetical do you support right to work laws?

    3. And the libertarian response to this is “that is a violation of the employer’s freedom”. Really, you guys are this fucking stupid and simple minded?

      Your right comrade, CORPORATIONS AREN’T PEOPLE!

      1. So you have no rational response and have to resort to invective. Thanks for admitting you lost the argument. Next time just yell Red Tony. It is means the same thing and takes less time to type. I am sure Col Guano would approve.

        1. So you have no rational response and have to resort to invective.

          This comes right after you imply that we’re all “stupid and simple minded”. Elsewhere you called someone a “halfwit”. People have been giving you rational responses all afternoon and every time you get backed into a corner your responses become flecked with digital spittle. If invective is a sign that someone has lost an argument, you lost this one a while ago.

  11. Let’s try an analogy:

    If slavery were legal (which is unquestionably a violation of freedom of association), and a law were proposed that prohibited breaking up family groups for re-sale, wouldn’t that law be both (a) a violation of freedom of association in isolation, as it restricts the contract rights of slave-owners and (b) an expansion of freedom of association in context, as it protects the association of slave families with each other?

    1. I can’t say I like the analogy of employers with slaveholders.

      1. I think the unions are the slaveholders in his analogy. They are the ones benefiting from an immoral violation of someone’s natural rights. The employees are the slaves. The employers are… I don’t know, also slaves?

        1. There’s no strict one-to-one correspondence.

    2. The only problem is that the immoral civil right being violated in your analogy only exists because of the law that allows slavery by violating the slaves’ natural rights to free association. A right-to-work law not only violates the unions’ immoral civil rights gained under federal legislation, but also violates the employers’ natural rights to freedom of association.

      Yes, a right to work law might replace a very immoral rule (everyone must join a union) with a less immoral rule (no one can be required to join a union), but it’s still an immoral rule. Realistically, right-to-work laws aren’t that restrictive because very few employers would ever want to force their employees to join a union. But putting right-to-work in the state constitution just means it will harder to get rid of it once it is no longer needed, in some distant libertopian future.

      1. The only problem is that the immoral civil right being violated in your analogy only exists because of the law that allows slavery by violating the slaves’ natural rights to free association.

        No problem. Our current labor laws also violate the employer’s right to free association by forcing the employer to contract with a union involuntarily (which you recognize).

        A right-to-work law not only violates the unions’ immoral civil rights gained under federal legislation, but also violates the employers’ natural rights to freedom of association.

        I’m unconcerned with violating an “immoral civil right” (actually, a privilege). My point really is that, the employer’s natural right to freedom of association isn’t really around anymore to be violated, once a union kicks down the door.

        You are correct that in an alternate universe, one where employers aren’t forced to contract with unions, a right to work law would be a bad thing. However, that is not our universe.

        1. No problem. Our current labor laws also violate the employer’s right to free association by forcing the employer to contract with a union involuntarily (which you recognize).

          That’s not the problem. The problem is what I mention in my second sentence. In your analogy, the law that prevents slave owners from breaking up families is only violating a civil right/privilege, which is not a real right. It is not violating any natural right of the slave owners or the slaves. But in the case of a right-to-work law, the law is also violating the natural right of the employer to free association (applying conditions to employment). That’s why the analogy doesn’t hold up.

  12. Oh, my! I’m so glad to see someone remark that there is a difference between a Constitution and a legal code. The former prescribes and proscribes the actions of government. The latter applies only to the people. We have had disastrous examples of mixing the two – Prohibition was one, which should never have been in the Constitution. And the 13th Amendment, prohibiting slavery, should never have been ratified. The Constitution constrains only government behavior, not that of the people. The ultimate irony is that only slavery was abolished by the legislation authorized by that Amendment. Involuntary servitude was continues by the government (in the form of the draft), even though ONLY the government was actually subject to the Amendment itself. (The government could have passed laws banning slavery, and production of alcohol, but neither belong in the Constitution.)

  13. But many state constitutions are full of both primary & secondary rules.

  14. When there’s a free market of competing unions all authorized to negotiate on equal footing with a given company (or, at least, that is even a possible scenario), maybe we can have this discussion.

    Until then, I think freedom of association is already being violated without right to work, and the states may as well tilt that playing field to favor individual freedom of association over group freedom of association.

    But agreed, it’s a complex maelstrom of policy and there’s no one true liberty viewpoint.

  15. So, we don’t really need laws against murder, we should just prevent murders?

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  19. Ah, baloney. Two wrongs don’t make a right, but murder is worse than lying.

    In this case, this is a kludge. Federal government labor rules (commands and controls) now mandate that a union majority vote is enough to violate the rights of both the employees AND the employer and dictate their behavior and extort their wages, something that seemed to be left out of this analysis.

    So work on the Wagner Act already. Get the feds out of the meddling compulsion. They won’t voluntarily until people or circumstances force it, but let’s keep perspective.

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