Workplace Freedom: Union Membership Is Up to You

The left constantly proclaims its pro-choice bona fides, but only in one very specific area. Should you be able to choose your own light bulb, elementary school, health insurance or soft drink? All of a sudden liberals don’t appreciate choice so much.

One of the left’s many anti-choice positions is their furious resistance to “right-to-work” laws. As with so many other basic liberties, most liberals don’t trust American workers with workplace freedom — the decision to join, or not to join, a labor union.

Last year Michigan became the 24th right-to-work state in the nation, giving fundamental workplace freedom to its residents. Now if a Michigander leaves his or her union they won’t lose their job, salary, benefits or seniority. But what about the 26 states that don’t honor workplace freedom?

To help inform all workers of their rights, a coalition of 60 non-profit organizations in 35 states (including FreedomWorks) created National Employee Freedom Week. Running from June 23 to June 29, the effort reaffirms that conservatives trust Americans to make the best choices for themselves and their families.

The idea was sparked by a small informational campaign launched last summer by the non-partisan Nevada Policy Research Institute. They informed teachers in Clark County, Nev., that they could opt-out of Clark County Education Association by submitting written notice. The overwhelming response took NPRI by surprise:

Teachers thanked NPRI for sharing that information. Hundreds of teachers wanted to leave CCEA, each for their own unique reasons, but didn’t know it was possible or forgot because of the narrow and inconvenient drop window. Empowered by the information NPRI shared, over 400 teachers opted out by submitting written notice and over 400 more left CCEA and weren’t replaced by a union member.

Based on the Clark County experience, NPRI realized that there are millions of union members around the country who aren’t able to make the best decision about union membership because they don’t know their options.

Not only can workers in right-to-work states freely leave their union, employees in other states also have options. They can choose to become agency fee payers or identify as a religious/conscientious objector.

Every person who chooses to leave a union has their own reason. Some workers found the dues to be too expensive on a tight budget, while others tired of seeing union bosses get rich on the backs of members. Many unionized workers received lousy service from their union and others were sick of their unions playing politics with dues money.

In addition, many former union members were happy to learn that other professional associations provide better benefits and development opportunities for a fraction of the cost of union membership.

If you wonder about your options for workplace freedom, visit the National Employee Freedom Week website. There, you can click on your state and find out if going non-union is the best choice for you.

Follow Jon on Twitter at @ExJon.