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The Next Big Fight Over Organized Labor May Already Be Here

Striking down exclusive representation would allow labor organizers to give the boot to free-riding employees.

Joanna AndreassonJoanna AndreassonJune's Supreme Court ruling in Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) freed public sector workers from being required to pay dues to unions to which they do not belong. It was kind of a big deal, and a single sentence in Justice Samuel Alito's majority opinion hints at what might be the next major legal fight over American unionism. "The State may require that a union serve as exclusive bargaining agent for its employees," Alito wrote. He then called that arrangement "a significant impingement on associational freedoms that would not be tolerated in other contexts."

The associate justice was likely talking about something called "exclusive representation." Section 9 of the Taft-Hartley Act of 1947—the federal law that set many of the rules still governing American labor unions today—established that only one union may represent workers in a given "bargaining unit." For example, all public school teachers in a school district must be members of the same union. If they want to join a different union, they have to go to a different school district. Imagine if the Elks Lodge could ban residents of a town from joining the Lions Club.

The legitimacy of exclusive bargaining power was not an issue in Janus, so Alito's decision to mention it in his ruling "seems to be inviting such litigation," says Michael Reitz, executive vice president of the Mackinac Center, a Michigan free-market think tank.

There are already some relevant cases in the pipeline. The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, which represented Mark Janus in his lawsuit, has two ongoing challenges to exclusive representation requirements in Minnesota and Washington state. Both plaintiffs argue their First Amendment right to freedom of association is being violated. According to Patrick Semmens, a vice president of the legal defense group, Alito's nod to the issue indeed "strengthens those cases."

In a post-Janus world, some unions might have an incentive to agree. One of the arguments AFSCME made against Janus was that releasing nonmembers from having to pay dues would create so-called "free riders"—workers who do not contribute to an association but are nonetheless protected by it, thanks to exclusive representation laws.

Allowing for competition among unions might alleviate that worry. Striking down exclusive representation would allow labor organizers to give the boot to free-riding employees. Meanwhile, workers would be free to form new unions that might better represent their members' interests.

Photo Credit: Liberty Justice Center

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  • Kivlor||

    These are private clubs and if you sign a contract with them you should have to follow it, even if it is unconscionable.

    It's going to be hilarious watching you libertarians scream about how this needs to be ended for the unions, but when Twitter demands you give up all sorts of rights--including a clause that says they can unilaterally change the entire contract at any time for no reason and you consent in advance--and bans speech regularly that's totes fine because private companies.

  • This Machine Chips Fascists||

    If you sign an unconscionable contract, that's on you. Agreeing to Twitter's UA doesn't prevent me from using FB or HnR or any other social media service. Nice person of straw you constructed though. Too bad it kicked your ass.

  • Kivlor||

    1. Unconscionable contracts are often illegal.
    2. Some clauses in contracts make contracts null and void, or voidable, due to the nature of them being unfair.
    3. Even you are bound to agree that people shouldn't be able to sign some contracts, or are you in favor of slavery? Indentured Servitude?
    4. It's not a strawman, it is making a comparison about 2 groups that are trampling the rights of people, and pointing out how one of them is A-Okay with Reason and libertarians because "private organizations", while they hilariously oppose the other because "But that's taking away the freedom of association of the people in the organization".

    The fact that you can't see the relevance really shows a massive blind-spot on your part. No, they aren't the same. Yes, they are comparable.

  • Rossami||

    Unions are not private clubs and employees don't sign contracts with the unions anyway. Employers do sign contracts with unions but the terms of that contract are not freely negotiated. The contract contains a government-enforced no-competition clause. Despite being unconscionable, that clause is legal - but only because it is the result of it's own unique law. Prior to the Janus decision, neither employees nor unions had the right to refuse association with the union. Post-Janus, employees may refuse to associate with the union but employers still may not.

    So, no, not even comparable to the voluntary contract that individual users consent to in order to use Twitter except on the most remote stretches. TMCF is right - your argument is a strawman.

  • Kivlor||

    Really, what are unions? Government owned?

  • mlwjr||

    give it a rest. you have made a fool of yourself

  • mlwjr||

    give it a rest. you have made a fool of yourself

  • Rossami||

    They are government-enforced monopolists.

  • Jerryskids||

    AFSCME is hardly a "private club", it's right there in the name. If Ford Motor Company agrees to allow the UAW to be the exclusive bargaining agent for Ford Motor Company employees and makes it a condition of employment that employees join the UAW, I have no problem whatsoever with that - no more than I have a problem with Coca-Cola making it a requirement for selling to McDonalds that McDonalds be prohibited from offering Pepsi-Cola products. But when the government requires Ford Motor Company to adopt that policy, they've crossed a clear line. And when government employees are unionized in the same manner absent an adversarial relationship with their "employers" who are themselves employees of the public, that's right out.

  • SQRLSY One||

    A contract is a contract, you signed it, so you must obey it, or Government Almighty is obliged to help enforce it, "even if it is unconscionable"?

    How about a contract where the eat-ee freely agrees to be killed and eaten by the eater? I kid you not!

    See http://www.theguardian.com/wor.....ukeharding ... Names were Meiwes and Brandes... Legal consent was all drawn up. "Victim of cannibal agreed to be eaten"... That eats me up pretty badly!

    But you know those Germans! They have a bad history of sometimes strangely restricting your personal freedoms!

  • RoyMo||

    No one who says a contract is a contract has ever taken Contracts, and libertarians who can't be bothered to have even read the Wikipedia article on the subject, which is assuredly lousy, are too proud in their stupidity, while those who have and still say it are the sort of Libertarians who either say "No True Scotsman wears the small kilt, or calls his ever present manpurse a sporran.

  • chemjeff radical individualist||

    "Watch me construct a false equivalence in order to bitch about Reason some more"

  • JesseAz||

    And what about cities that require contracts from companies that have unions exclusively? Do you think that's a freedom as well? Closed shops being a form of freedom is just a silly thought. New entrants into the industry mist abide by the rules they didn't even vote on.

    Here's the deal... I'll support your silly idea about freedom of contracts for closed shops if you support a yearly revote for support of the union.

  • chemjeff radical individualist||

    And what about cities that require contracts from companies that have unions exclusively? Do you think that's a freedom as well?

    It's called "freedom of association". In this case, between the city government and the companies they choose to do business with.

  • JesseAz||

    My god Jeff. You finally made a non stupid comment on this thread prior, but then you can't help yourself. The government requiring conditions of contract is not a freedom of association, especially when done to advance favor with a constituency that will return the favor in the form of donations.

    The government represents all people, not a subset of people that are favored. This is why you come across as an authoritarian when it suits your needs.

    Union and non union shops have no discernable difference in quality of work. In fact there are actually studies showing non union shops may produce higher quality goods (yes I know union funded studies show the opposite, shocker). There is no government interest in forcing the proliferation of union only contracts.

    Next time try to control your impulse to make a stupid comment.

  • chemjeff radical individualist||

    The government requiring conditions of contract is not a freedom of association

    Sure it is. It is the government agency setting conditions with whom it chooses to associate.

    And now here is where you are stupid: I nowhere argued that I *supported* the government agency's choice of with whom to associate. That was you making a false inference. I nowhere made any argument about the quality of union-made vs nonunion-made goods. That was you invoking a complete red herring.

    Now if you would like to argue how a government agency's discretionary powers to hire and fire companies for particular tasks should be constrained, then go right ahead and offer those arguments.

  • SQRLSY One||

    Well, come on now, ChemJeff...

    "It's called "freedom of association"."

    In libertarian circles, and even in circles of conservatives who REALLY believe in individual freedom and small Government Almighty, it isn't wise to invoke "freedom" in an anti-personal-freedom manner, and NOT indicate that in this particular case, you do NOT agree with "freedom" being defined or applied in this manner.

    City Hall awards contracts ONLY to friends and family, and campaign donors, and spends YOUR tax dollars in a corrupted manner, and justifies it in the name of "freedom of association"?

    Surely lovers of individual liberty should object!

  • chemjeff radical individualist||

    I agree with you that I would object to a government agency deciding to hire only union labor.
    But I also acknowledge that, free of other constraints, this same agency would have the discretionary authority to choose to hire only union labor if they wanted to.

  • SQRLSY One||

    I as a taxpayer would like some "freedom of association" to "associate" each and every one of my taxpayer dollars ONLY with the best provider(s) of goods and services, regardless of unions, and whose buddies and relatives and campaign donors are favored by City Hall! Sad to say, I have to convince 51% of the voters to agree with me, before my voice is REALLY heard! Or, I have to make YUUUGE campaign donations!

    To me, public employment should be a "sacred trust". You as a Government Almighty employee (or a contractor doing the same thing) are living off of my forcibly extracted tax dollars? Unionize about working conditions, within reason, OK by me… But do NOT go on strike!!! Y'all told me it's (education) "all for the children", or public transit is "all for the environment, efficiency, etc.", and then GO ON STRIKE and deprive me of my promised services??! Oh, I see, it is NOT about serving ME, it is about serving YOU!

    My policy-wonk solution (in days of cheap computer power and databases) would be to create a USA-wide data base of ALL Government Almighty "servants" who have ever gone on strike. Now let each voting district vote on, "Do you, or do you not, want to employ public workers who have ever gone on strike?"

  • Dizzle||

    The real crux is, in many states the government doesn't have to use union labor to incur the extremely high costs of union labor thanks to prevailing wage and the davis bacon act. Taxpayers get screwed no matter what.

  • JesseAz||

    What don't you get. The government is supposed to be a neutral arbiter. The freedom of association is a private right, not a public right. This is as stupid as arguing congress can outlaw a group of people on freedom of association grounds.

  • SQRLSY One||

    "The freedom of association is a private right, not a public right."

    That's as things are today, which has very little to do with how things optimally SHOULD be. "Outlawing a group of people" is a HUUUGE sight removed from advocating "you should have NO right to be a public employee again, if you have betrayed the public trust, by going on strike, as a public employee, and the local voting district has decided they don't want your kind of public employee".

    As is, "concentrated benefits, diffuse costs" favors public employees, and the voters need to be armed to fight back.

    Government should NOT be a neutral arbiter when selecting workers and contractors, in a sense... It should select those best qualified to provide goods and services! A past history of going on strike is NOT a good sign!

  • Brett Bellmore||

    No, that's called "money laundering": The city politicians arrange for the union to have a monopoly, and in return the union provides the politicians donations and campaign labor funded by the taxpayers.

    Government unions are, basically everywhere, just an intermediary for politicians to launder tax dollars to their campaigns through. It's the only reason they're tolerated.

  • chemjeff radical individualist||

    It could be corrupt money laundering. Or it could be a non-corrupt principled stand to favor union shops over nonunion shops.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Money laundering is by definition criminal...so corrupt if government is allowing it.

  • JesseAz||

    You just can't help yourself. Maybe I need to know what your definition of corruption is. Mandating terms of a government contract that ultimately benefits the agent granting and mandating the terms is in my view corruption.

    Again, no non partisan study has shown union labor is more beneficial than a non union. There is no government interest in union set asides aside from the politcially kick back to the government.

  • JesseAz||

    Let me put it more simply for you Jeff. Would you be okay with a government favoring republican owned shops, male owned shops, church owned shops, etc under the guise of freedom of association. Be honest.

    At least try to argue under freedom of contract. It's a bit more tenable. But there you still have the issue of favored constituents, which again is a tilt towards corruption.

  • Unicorn Abattoir||

    It could be corrupt money laundering. Or it could be a non-corrupt principled stand to favor union shops over nonunion shops by eliminating competition, driving up cost, and sticking taxpayers with the bill.

  • Colossal Douchebag||

    An individual's right of free association is a natural right.

    A government's rights of association, like all other government rights, are only those explicitly granted it by the governed.

    No sane person would grant a government the same rights of free association as an individual possesses.

  • Kivlor||

    Governments are really corporations, and we've already established that corporations are people with the rights of people. So... yeah. Government has the right to freely associate with unions or corporations, except where the Government places limits on itself (or where a government places limits on other governments that are under its authority, ie feds to the states, states to the counties and municipalities)

  • Brett Bellmore||

    No, actually we haven't established that corporations are people with the right of people. You're not going to meet Exxon in the line at your polling place this coming Tuesday, for example.

    Rather, the position the courts have arrived at is that people are people, and don't relinquish their rights as people by banding together into corporations. This looks a bit like "corporations are people!" if you don't pay attention, but it isn't really the same thing.

    And, no, governments aren't really corporations. You can see this when you drive past Costco, and an armed employee doesn't shoot out your tires and drag you in to buy the Kirkland brand balsamic vinegar whether you want to or not.

    What governments are is protection rackets. They take your money in return for protection, and if you don't give them your money, you find that the protection was from them. Mind, they're highly evolved protection rackets, which have found that it's usually best to supply at least some actual protection from other threats, but the defining characteristic of a protection racket is who attacks you if you don't pay for the "protection".

  • MarkLastname||

    So, would a law prohibiting a city government from converting to Catholicism violate its freedom of religion?

  • markm23||

    A city government has no religion. People in it may have a religion. They have the right to practice it, but not to force others to participate, pay part of the costs, or listen to an official pushing his religion when they have to deal with the government. Nor can they fail to do their job because it offends their religion. In other words, if you can't keep your religion out of the workplace, you are free to avoid government jobs.

  • Kivlor||

    I think neither of the examples I gave, nor yours are freedom Jesse. I think that some contracts are inherently predatory and bad, and we have laws banning such things for a reason. The fact that some groups get away with it because they have enough cash and influence doesn't make them any less wrong in my eyes.

  • JesseAz||

    We are arguing freedom of association when freedom of contract is more apropos. However... Government is restricted for favored direction of contracts for non neutral reasons. In this case the argument for union enforced contract bids is discriminatory on its face as no study shows a benefit of union output to non union output. There is no neutral reason to favor unions. I won't even discuss the mandatory diversity allotment for government contracts.

    As for unconscionable contracts, I don't have the energy to rehash Lochner. But I will say that disallowing contracts from a government standpoint is not in any way a form of freedom. Government shouldn't be policing morality.

  • Kivlor||

    Should slavery contracts be legal? indentured servitude?

  • JesseAz||

    Do you have a serious question for me to answer?

  • Jerryskids||

    Who needs 23 different kinds of unions when there are hungry children in this country?

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Getting rid of all these Union tricks of the trade are fantastic.

    Get labor and business back to being free market as possible.

  • vek||

    Well, another potential interesting side effect of something like that going into effect could be "free agents" deciding to work for a government agency. School teacher let us say. If they decide not to join ANY union, they may be able to negotiate different terms of employment... Like being able to fire poor performers, or give higher pay for better performers... They may not strike when the union teachers strike... Etc...

    PERHAPS in saner parts of the country, such a school district might decide to start hiring as many non union teachers as possible, for the obvious benefits.

    Could create interesting results in theory.

  • JesseAz||

    The weird thing is that people who passionately defend unions and claiming unions require exclusive bargaining seem to be completely ignorant to the fact that mixed union shope (ie where employees can choose to join the union) already exist and do so without issue for the most part. The manufacturing at my company has a mixed shop, about 60% are union. 40% choose to go a different route. Hillariously the non union people actually get slightly hired combined benefits. It's essentially stopped the union side from striking 2 different negotiations in a row.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    "In a post-Janus world, some unions might have an incentive to agree. One of the arguments AFSCME made against Janus was that releasing nonmembers from having to pay dues would create so-called "free riders"—workers who do not contribute to an association but are nonetheless protected by it, thanks to exclusive representation laws."

    It has to be remembered that the unions insisted on the exclusive representation clauses themselves. So their complaints about "free riders" were always insincere, they'd press ganged those people onto the ship in the first place.

    They'll fight as hard or harder against losing exclusive representation, as they did on the agency fees issue.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Exactly. The more their numbers shrink, the less power public unions have to negotiate good terms.

  • Remember to keep it all polit||

    This makes no sense to me:

    Striking down exclusive representation would allow labor organizers to give the boot to free-riding employees.

    How can a union give the boot to free-riding employees, when the definition of "free-ridiing" is that they don't pay dues and didn't join the union? It seems to imply the union could actually tell the employer to fire his ass.

  • Cyronic||

    If I am understanding correctly, it mostly comes into play in companies/agencies where the union dictates terms of employment, even for non-members. Some teachers' unions, for instance, where the union dictates the hiring, benefits, and salary conditions for the entire school, regardless of whether the teacher joins their union or not. That was one of the biggest arguments against the Janus decision, that workers who were not members of the union and did not pay dues would still benefit from the collective bargaining.

    By striking down exclusive contracts, this issue is avoided. The school in my prior example would only be able to dictate the terms of their employees, but the school would be free to pursue individual contracts with non-union workers and negotiate individual compensation. No more "free-riders."

  • I'm Not Sure||

    "... that workers who were not members of the union and did not pay dues would still benefit from the collective bargaining."

    That's assuming that the union can negotiate a better deal than an individual could. Taking into consideration that the union deal has to cover the lowest performing workers in the group, I'm not sure that would always be the case.

  • SimonP||

    I'm always amused when libertarians make this kind of argument, because they so often are not the ones who do better outside of a collectively-bargained arrangement.

  • Rossami||

    The "free-riding" is not the fact of employment. What the unions complained about was the possibility that
    a) non-union employee Smith gets the benefit of the union's work negotiating a raise without having to do his own negotiations
    b) Smith also gets the benefit of the union's negotiations over benefits and working conditions.
    c) Smith gets the benefit of union representation in disputes.

    A and B are pretty much non-starters. When you negotiate for a raise, you're going to have to accept that if you are successful, you are raising the prevailing wage by definition. The same for working conditions. If you make things safer for yourself, there's not a strong moral argument for leaving your co-workers in danger just because they didn't walk into the negotiation room with you.

    C is a better argument because that's an individualized service that the union provides to the person in the disciplinary dispute. But as Brett points out above, it's only available to non-union employees because prior union reps insisted that they had to represent everyone.

  • markm23||

    "When you negotiate for a raise, you're going to have to accept that if you are successful, you are raising the prevailing wage by definition."

    So your position is that the extras on a movie set are entitled to the same pay as the stars? That is what the teachers' unions want - that the worst teachers are paid the same as the best, with only seniority raising the pay. And also that a qualified math or science teacher get no more than an English teacher.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    Or, given the behavior of Unions over the past few decades, we could give all Union officials a fifteen minute head start and then let loose the dogs.

  • SimonP||

    Not that pointing this out will do any good, because conservatives have already committed themselves to destroying organized labor entirely, but:

    The law already gives you an option if you don't like how your union is being managed. You vote in union elections.

    Exclusive representation makes perfect sense when you understand what unions actually are - they are means for employees to collectively assemble and govern and represent themselves. That's how they get organized in the first place - an election in which all defined members of the bargaining unit are entitled to participate - and that's how they're governed on an ongoing basis. It makes no more sense to give employees the right to "opt out" of exclusive representation than it does to entitle residents of a city, county, school district, etc., the right to "opt out" into some competing governing entity.

    As I said, conservatives are already committed to thinking of unions as "associations" for free speech purposes and will use that conceptualization to eventually destroy organized labor in this country entirely, as putatively prohibited by the First Amendment. They'll push back labor rights by a century, and it'll be another generation or two before we undo the damage.

  • JesseAz||

    So you don't understand how tedious the decertification process is at every step. Good to know you're ignorant in this regard as well.

  • SimonP||

    The "tediousness" of decertification has no relevance to my point, or the one I am criticizing.

  • JesseAz||

    "The law already gives you an option if you don't like how your union is being managed. You vote in union elections.". Psst. The law gives you another option, decertification. Your base argument is this isn't an option apparently.

  • SimonP||

    You're having difficulty following the line of the argument.

    I'm perfectly happy to acknowledge that decertification is also an option for exiting a bargaining arrangement that members of the bargaining unit, for whatever reason, have decided is no longer serving their interests. Indeed, that logically follows from my claims about what a union, in its essence, is. If the process is unduly difficult by virtue of legal requirements, then by all means it might make sense to reform the law; decertifying a union shouldn't be any more difficult, in my view, than getting one set up in the first place.

    But its being an option or unduly difficult has nothing to do with the point that I've made, which is that unions are, fundamentally, not "expressive associations," but rather means of collective bargaining to which all relevantly similar employees logically and properly belong.

  • JesseAz||

    I'm not having difficulty at all. You just have really simplified and ignorant arguments.

  • I'm Not Sure||

    "than it does to entitle residents of a city, county, school district, etc., the right to "opt out" into some competing governing entity."

    What's wrong with that? Aren't more options better than fewer?

  • SimonP||

    I guess I assumed that the absurdity of claiming, for instance, that I could live within the geographic region we refer to "NYC" while claiming to belong in fact to some other "city" - say, "New NYC" - and subject only to the laws of New NYC - would be self-evident to everyone here.

    I guess I forgot that 12 year olds like to waste time here, as well.

  • I'm Not Sure||

    "I guess I assumed that the absurdity of claiming, for instance, that I could live within the geographic region we refer to "NYC" while claiming to belong in fact to some other "city"

    Which is nothing at all like an employer's ability to negotiate with more than one person/group for their workforce. Good to see you eventually recognized how retarded your comparison was.

  • SimonP||

    The fact that different representatives could theoretically represent different groups of employees doesn't undermine what I'm saying about unions, nor does it help to make sense of your earlier comment.

    If some of my factory workers want to be represented by Union A rather than Union B, or if they would prefer to "negotiate" their compensation outside of any union framework, that may or may not be a bad thing, it may or may not be legally permitted, but in any event there's nothing problematic in supposing that I, as factory owner, might be able to negotiate with Union A and Union B for their respective bodies of employees.

    The question is not whether our law permits this or whether it ought to be permitted; the question is just what it means to belong to either Union A or Union B, or some other Union including all factory workers. Conservatives insist that unions are "expressive associations," so that any law that purports to control how a workforce is organized necessarily constrains the free speech rights of employees. My point is that they are not expressive associations; they are bargaining units whose activities are controlled by the members themselves. That is true regardless of how many bargaining units there turns out to be.

  • JesseAz||

    Simon... Are you ignorant of mixed shops? Shops that are partially unionized. You seen to be.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Simon is an ignorant of a whole lot of things it appears.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    "I guess I forgot that 12 year olds like to waste time here, as well."

    A prosaic leftist such as yourself shouldn't be casting stones. Your arguments are weak, spurious, and just generally lacking. Best you quiet down and learn to obey.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    I can't see any reason to destroy "organized labor" entirely. I just want it to have to operate on a voluntary basis, so that unions can only exist where they can persuade their potential members to join.

    It's actually useful to have unions around, they're kind of like the labor equivalent of nuclear weapons: They deter a lot of bad behavior by employers but like the nukes, everybody loses if they're actually deployed. So you want them to be legal, and a realistic enough prospect to keep employers a bit scared, but you don't want to have to actually be a member of one.

  • SimonP||

    I can't see any reason to destroy "organized labor" entirely. I just want it to have to operate on a voluntary basis, so that unions can only exist where they can persuade their potential members to join.

    Good news - that's how it works now!

    It's actually useful to have unions around,...

    I agree, for different reasons. It is far better for individual workforces to organize and negotiate the terms of their employment, rather than have to rely on the state or federal government to set blanket standards that apply regardless of local economic conditions.

    That's what none of you anti-union chuckleheads seem to grasp. The decline of unions is bad news for economic liberty, because it corresponds to greater political pressure for mandated wages, benefits, and the like. Much better for workforces - with actual skin in the game - to negotiate what works best for them and their owners.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    "That's what none of you anti-union chuckleheads seem to grasp"

    Look you fucking condescending retard, a lot of us are anti union to varying degrees because of unions engaging in systemic, thuggish behavior, colluding with de ocrats for legislation to allow them to bully individuals (card check, etc.), and other problems like significant involvement with organized crime going back the better part of a century. Now Big Labor is finally starting to get its judicial comeuppance, and it is sweet.

    Only a democrat hack like you is so obtuse as to not understand these things.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    "Good news - that's how it works now!"

    No, I've worked at union shops a couple of times, and that is NOT how it works now. The whole country hasn't gone "right to work" yet, though it's trending that way.

  • Rossami||

    Voting in a union election does nothing to preserve your rights if you are in the minority. As the old saying goes, democracy is not two wolves and a sheep voting on what's for dinner. We tolerate the majority-rules principle in government because there is no better alternative. And even in that context, we bound that principle by constitutional restrictions to minimize the risk of a tyranny of the majority. There is no such justification for that being the only allowable recourse in an employment representation. Your analogy is inapt because unions are not the same as governments. The fact that huge numbers of non-unionized employees in all walks of life nevertheless manage to be satisfactorily employed is ample evidence that the right to opt out of representation is neither difficult nor infeasible.

  • SimonP||

    Voting in a union election does nothing to preserve your rights if you are in the minority. As the old saying goes, democracy is not two wolves and a sheep voting on what's for dinner.

    That's not how the "old saying" goes.

    We tolerate the majority-rules principle in government because there is no better alternative.

    We "tolerate" it in virtually every context where a group has to make a collective decision, actually. The only case where minority interests are protected are unanimous decision-making, which is reserved for very specific types of situations.

    And even in that context, we bound that principle by constitutional restrictions to minimize the risk of a tyranny of the majority. There is no such justification for that being the only allowable recourse in an employment representation.

    Going off the rails, a bit, here. What "rights" of the minority are relevant, in the union context? "I want to work for whatever wage I want, regardless of what's been negotiated on my behalf!"

    The fact that huge numbers of non-unionized employees in all walks of life nevertheless manage to be satisfactorily employed is ample evidence that the right to opt out of representation is neither difficult nor infeasible.

    Sentence, words, words, period.

  • MarkLastname||

    How about the right to apply for a job at below union rates despite not being a union member because the union is capping expansion to keep wages artificially high? How about the right if a more productive than average worker to work for a wage higher than the set one size fits all union wage?

    Your naive bullshit is a humorous bit, but you ought to wake up and see unions for what they are: cartels. They drive up prices for the benefit of members at the expense of non-members (not just employers but other prospective employees and customers).

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Simon is just another pptraitor progtard. They really need to go.

  • sudon't||

    I love how everyone worries about workers making too much money, but they're not at all bothered by multimillion-dollar executive salaries. Unions balance the power of corporations. Damn right they exist for the benefit of members, just as the corporation is there for the benefit of its members.

    Talk about naive, what idiot wants to work for less money? Who is clamoring for that right? Even if you don't have to work for a living, other people making higher wages benefits you by growing the economy. Even a lunatic like Henry Ford understood this. Unions benefit everybody, and I don't think it was entirely a coincidence that our most prosperous period was when unions were strong. But, the wrecking of the economy continues...

  • Brett Bellmore||

    "We "tolerate" it in virtually every context where a group has to make a collective decision, actually. The only case where minority interests are protected are unanimous decision-making, which is reserved for very specific types of situations."

    We protect it much better in contexts where we simply don't make a collective decision. There ARE situations where a collective decision is necessary; What side of the road are people going to drive on? Doesn't really matter, but it's got to be all on the same side.

    But we're making collective decisions in a lot of circumstances where it isn't really necessary.

  • MarkLastname||

    So if I and two of my friends define you - without your consent - as being part of our club, then purport to represent you, tell you what work you can and cannot do, and tax you, you're fine with it knowing that you get to vote in the annual election we hold?

    If so, you'll be pleased to hear we're hildinh our first election now; all votes are for me as president, so yours won't matter, though much appreciated; and dues are 10% of your income.

    See, it's not 'self governance' when third parties get to decide whom their governing regardless of whether they consent.

  • JesseAz||

  • JesseAz||

  • Kivlor||

  • JesseAz||

    Thank you sir.

  • SQRLSY One||

    "UAW spurns union labor to build home for ex-president"

    Indeed! Color my utterly SHOCKED by the hypocrisy of it all! :)

  • SimonP||

    Of course, if it were corporate America - particularly private corporate America - no one would have blinked twice at the higher construction number.

    The actual story here is the misuse of union funds to buy something for a prominent official. They're calling it "corruption," but, again, it wouldn't be illegal in corporate America.

  • JesseAz||

    And yet you argue above about the appropriations of forcing employees to belong to these unions...

  • SimonP||

    There are laws that prevent the misuse of union assets. Much fewer laws governing misuse of corporate assets. And good luck enforcing those.

  • Slocum||

    Striking down exclusive representation would allow labor organizers to give the boot to free-riding employees. Meanwhile, workers would be free to form new unions that might better represent their members' interests.


    I don't think unions are dumb enough to fall for this argument. Unions would hate this much more than having free riders. They definitely don't want to compete with other unions or individual non-union employees who might agree to work for less. I'm pretty sure they'd rather put up with free-riders than lower-wage competitors.

  • I'm Not Sure||

    "They definitely don't want to compete with other unions or individual non-union employees who might agree to work for less."

    They also don't want to be stuck with nothing but crappy workers when the more productive ones find that they can cut better deals on their own.

  • buybuydandavis||

    Unions should be treated like any other corp subcontracting labor to another company.

  • tommhan||

    In Virginia we have right to work laws and those that don't to join don't have to join but are covered by same rules and conditions as union members. I don't see how this would present a problem to the people as having an exclusive of one union allowed would still benefit the union.

  • inoyu||

    Union issues debates should always separate into the public union (since the 1960s) debate and the private union debate. Public unions became what the critics predicted: political beasts.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    What the critics predicted, and the advocates hoped for...

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