“Right to work” means that employees can’t be forced to join unions even if there is an organized union. This has the effect of making unions pretty useless. Right-to-work laws are basically union busting laws in the disguise of “individual freedom”. It’s no surprise, then, that there is a very high correlation between strongly Republican states and right-to-work states.
This past year, though, there have been a spate of right-to-work laws passed in non-traditional Republican states. Well, add the strongest union state in the country to the mix. Michigan just passed their own right-to-work law. If this keeps up, unions may cease to exist in the next decade. Anti-union sentiment is strong even with Democrats; just look at Chicago mayor Rahm Emauel.
The sad thing is, everyone understands the anti-union sentiment. Unions are often horrible. They take needed money from hard working individuals and that money often seems to be spent filling the coffers of union officials who are all to often corrupt and don’t give much in return back to the workers. In fact, the only thing that I can think of that is worse than unions is the companies that make unions necessary in the first place.
And that’s the big problem with anti-union sentiment; it’s so short sighted. Yes, unions are often horrible, but they do serve a purpose that, at the microeconomic level, seems bad for employees, but at the macroeconomic level, provides huge benefits to all employees. People are very poor long term planners so they tend to see only the microeconomic implication of decisions. So, down with unions!
Say you are applying for a job at a company in a right-to-work state that currently has a union. Here is how that job interview would go:
HR person: Do you plan to join the union?
HR person: Thank you for your time.
Now say you are a current non-union employee at a company in a right-to-work state that decided to join the union. Here is how that conversation would go:
Employee: I’d like to join the union.
HR person: You’re fired.
But keep reaching for the sky, America, soon you’ll be the freedomest of all freedomers. And by “reaching for the sky”, I mean “digging that ditch”.