Imagine if the government required every gun owner in America to pay dues to the National Rifle Association in order to own a firearm.
The NRA is a private organization that lobbies for gun rights and provides trainings and other resources for its members. But requiring gun owners to pay the NRA would be ridiculous. Not every gun owner agrees with what the NRA lobbies for, and some do not want or need the resources NRA provides.
As crazy as this concept seems, it exists in America today - except it isn’t with the NRA. It is with labor unions.
Labor unions are private organizations that lobby the government and provide certain resources for their members. But not all workers agree with what unions lobby for, and many do not want or need the resources they provide. And yet in 24 states across America, thousands of workers are required to pay union dues or else they can be fired.
This absurd reality is a relic of the 20th century, and that is where it should be left as America moves into 2016. Thankfully, the vast majority of people (over 70 percent according to Gallup polling) are getting the memo.
Americans are finally asking themselves a simple question: “If unions are so great, why do they need to force people to pay them?” No other private membership organization functions this way.
It seems the only remaining defenders of forced unionism are union bosses and their ironically-coined “progressive” political allies. Politicians who describe themselves as “progressive” and “pro-choice” fight tooth and nail to preserve the antiquated status quo of mandatory union dues, because union bosses reward them accordingly come election season.
After all, taking money from teachers and blue-collar workers who have no say in the matter is how union bosses like AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka make nearly $300,000 a year and Chicago Teachers Association President Karen Lewis can afford to own three homes (including one in Hawaii).
But the American people rightfully disapprove of forced union dues, and elected officials all over the country are responding accordingly.
Lawmakers in 26 states have enacted common-sense Right-to-Work legislation simply stating that no one can be fired from a job for refusing to join a union and pay dues. Four states have done so since 2012 (West Virginia just this month), and at least two - Kentucky and Missouri - are likely to do so by next year.
Every time a labor debate comes up, union bosses pull the puppet strings from their marble office buildings in Washington, D.C. and unload everything they can to stop the spread of workers’ choice. They cram state capitols with paid protestors, and they and their allies threaten opponents with political (but sometimes physical) consequences.
And yet each time lawmakers have passed worker freedom legislation, voters have overwhelmingly rewarded them at the ballot box. Since 2012, advocates of worker freedom have never taken a net loss of seats in the election following the passage of such a bill in their state. On multiple occasions, voters re-elected every single legislator who voted for Right-to-Work.
Perhaps this is because most voters are detached from the threats and hysterical rhetoric of union politics, and only feel for themselves the positive effects of common-sense public policy.
Voluntary union dues restore vital First Amendment protections by vindicating workers’ freedom of speech and freedom of association. No longer are teachers required to pay for collective bargaining agreements that protect teachers who show up to work drunk. No longer are workers required to fund salaries of union bosses who rail against income inequality while indulging the lifestyle of the much-maligned “one percent.”
Moreover, with voluntary membership, unions become accountable to workers - a foreign concept for many considering they were voted into certification decades ago and have never had to earn approval from or be voted on by the workers they currently claim to represent.
As a result, Right-to-Work states have indisputably stronger economies: enjoying faster job growth, income growth, and population growth.
Union bosses will continue to spout hysteria and ad hominem attacks that range from questionable to downright false in a desperate last-ditch attempt to protect their cartel. But voters overwhelmingly support allowing workers freedom from coercion in the workplace - and they are making forced union dues and the so-called “progressive” politicians who support this stale concept a thing of the past.
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