September 23, 2014

BOULWARE WINS:

Resigned to Freedom : The California Teachers Association prepares for life as a voluntary association. (Larry Sand, 21 September 2014, City Journal)

Gary Casteel, a veteran union organizer recently named secretary-treasurer of the United Auto Workers, has come out in favor of right-to-work laws. In February, he said, "This is something I've never understood, that people think right-to-work hurts unions. To me, it helps them. You don't have to belong if you don't want to. So if I go to an organizing drive, I can tell these workers, 'If you don't like this arrangement, you don't have to belong.' Versus, 'If we get 50 percent of you, then all of you have to belong, whether you like to or not.' I don't even like the way that sounds, because it's a voluntary system, and if you don't think the system's earning its keep, then you don't have to pay."

Former Florida teacher and teacher-union president Doug Tuthill also seems comfortable with the right-to-work trend. "The two most effective unions in the United States are the National Rifle Association and the AARP," Tuthill wrote on redefinEd, an education reform website. "They're not industrial unions, but they are unions, and they are far more effective politically and financially than today's teachers unions. Teachers should adopt this model. . . . Unlike today's teachers unions, the NRA and AARP do not require their members to be part of a centralized bureaucracy. Their members are united by common values and interests."

As unions come to terms with the right-to-work movement, they fall into line with broader public sentiment. A poll conducted earlier this year by Google Consumer Surveys found that nearly 83 percent of the American public believes that workers should have the right to choose whether to join a union. Additionally, nearly 29 percent of union members nationwide responded they would be interested in leaving their union if given the opportunity. And in its annual Labor Day poll, Gallup found 82 percent of Americans agree that "no American should be required to join any private organization, like a labor union, against his will." Perhaps unions are on the verge of conforming to what Alexis de Tocqueville called the characteristic institutions of American life--voluntary associations. It's about time.

Posted by at September 23, 2014 4:49 PM
  

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