Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Is Right to Work a Union Laborer's Best Bet?

Recently, the "Right to Work" debate has gained in intensity. Unions attempt to block RTW legislation as legislation and referendums in various states seem to push for RTW laws and amendments to be enacted.

Governor Scott Walker came  under fire for restricting collective  bargaining of state government workers, proposing they take an active  role in contributing to their own benefits, such as pension funds and  insurance policies. However, the laws he lobbied for and saw passed by his state cut the state's budget deficit dramatically and bolstered the state's economy in this recession. This improved things in both  the public and private sectors for employers and individual citizens. However, one of the most vocal segments against these laws was the teachers' union. That demonstrated that the union is more out for itself than for the teachers and the students, who benefit more from Gov. Walker's plan.

It is obvious that the reason that unions detest RTW policies is that they don't like prosperity, individual freedom, and what is best for the workers. They want power and to push a Marxist or Ailinsky based ideology in an attempt to control the government and the economy. They want the economy to fail. They want the workers dependent upon them instead of self-sufficient. That is a grievous departure from the intended purposes of their conception.

Their support of socialist agendas becomes obvious in their support of policies that further federal intervention into people's lives and the "common man's" dependency upon government subsidies. If you have read my past essays here and here, you know my thoughts on why these are bad. There are experts far smarter than I who can give even more reasons why these subsidies are economically a poor idea. Even the "Occupy" crowd sees the subsidies given to chosen oligopolies as unacceptable. The Heritage Foundation released a study that shows under  the current administration the "common man" is 23% more likely to be subsidized by federal funds. That is an affront to individual liberty. It is an attack against individual responsibility and merit. It tells our individual workers that they are incapable of thinking or doing for themselves. Yet many of these unions take portions of the dues paid to them by their members and use them to support socialist-leaning politicians and to lobby for these socialist programs. That is counter-productive.

In many cases, these donations are forced. The unions twist their clients' (the workers/members) arms and force them to give to these lobbyist groups and other organizations, even if the members wish to employ their individual rights to not do so. Michele Malkin produced this piece that contains many complaints from union members being strong-armed into donations and use of their dues to support causes and political agendas its members don't necessarily agree with. It includes an SEIU member talking about the abuses, including his "raise" just turning into higher union dues payments.

Anybody who has done any amount of real study and research into the founding principles of our great nation knows that the Declaration of Independence, The Federalist Papers, and the US Constitution are founded upon the philosophies of Aristotle, Locke, and others who believed in prosperity through individual inalienable rights to prosper on their own merits and acumen. They also know that our economic structure is historically based upon the theories of Adam Smith.

Free Market Capitalism, its benefits, and the prosperity it generates are lauded in the works of more modern economists such as Art Laffer, Stephen Moore, and Milton Friedman.

Unions in America originated in an effort to create a "labor market". Their origins were very capitalist in nature. They sought to organize skilled workers into companies that provide a necessary capital, an inherent  service to employing companies. Organized, the workers could, in theory, bargain with the production and manufacturing companies as a supplier. The idea was to use the laws of supply and demand to come to an agreed upon market price. It makes sense. Labor is as much capital as the raw materials used to manufacture a product. Companies negotiate using the laws of supply and demand as well as basic free-market trade to find a mutually beneficial contract for those suppliers to sell their product, raw materials such as steel, wood, plastic, oil, machinery, etc. to the client -- the manufacturing company. In that aspect, the unions became just another supply company. The product supplied was human capital, otherwise known as the service of a labor force.

Free market trade such as the spirit that formed the unions in the first place should also allow for those smaller suppliers to attempt to compete for those contracts. In human capital, the smallest supplier is the individual worker. The competition of the individual, non-union laborer is beneficial to all, including the union workers. It promotes a better product (labor) and allows the market to generate better contracts for those "labor supply companies" i.e. unions.

If unions really cared about providing that better product for a more prosperous compensation (wages and benefits), they would embrace Right to Work. Of course, the union administrators want a monopoly that can control the companies they supply as well as their members. However, the members themselves would prosper more from RTW. Why? It's simple. If RTW amendments are passed in a state, the unions would have to sell themselves to the individual laborers. They would have to step up and actually provide benefits to the workers above what the individual workers could provide for themselves through personal investments into those benefits or an employer providing matching funds as part of those benefits.

The union members need to really look and ask "what is the union doing for me? What services do they provide for my dues that make them worth the cost?". If the workers were FREE to ask those questions, the unions would have to compete to supply a bigger bang for their clients' bucks. This would enable the unions to actually provide competitive services to the workers and actually BENEFIT the workers. It would enable the workers to concentrate more on the service/products they produce. That would make the companies employing them more productive and prosperous. Then the end-clients, the consumers paying for those end-products, would get a better product or service for their money. Many of those consumers are the individual laborers themselves. So, everybody benefits. It makes sense. Nobody does anything for free. It's human nature. Everybody does things to fill their own needs, desires, aspirations. We call that "the Pursuit of Happiness".

How does this apply to teachers' unions? Well, first ask what the products the individual teachers provide are. The products are the students, the graduates, the youth of our great nation, who represent our future prosperity. The unions want their cut of government funds. They don't want the cut to improve education. they want it to use to influence politics. They want it to line their own pockets. they want it to further Marxist ideologies through the comprachicos they brainwashed. They do not care about better education supplies and facilities. And they really do not care about teachers' salaries, though they use those to force/bribe teachers to step in line with the unions' agendas. It's why charter schools and private schools provide a better product (students, graduates) to the clients:  parents and the country at large. If the teachers' unions in the public education system had to compete with non-union teachers in the public system, they would spend more time concentrating on providing better services to their members and less time on things that have no bearing on education. Then the teachers would actually see real benefits coming from the unions. They would have a product to sell for those union dues instead of extorting educators for high dues. Educators may actually see a benefit in union membership versus having to pay for an invented illusory necessity.

RTW laws and amendments bring unions back to their free-market roots. They increase prosperity for end-clients, consumers, unions, and workers alike. That is why laborers should (and many do) support RTW in their states.