33% of Union Households Would Opt Out


Are you for workers’ rights, but against union bosses and bullies?

Then grab some comeback cake, raise your Twinkie, and celebrate National Employee Freedom week! You may be asking, “What do Twinkies have to do with labor relations?”

Right-to-work laws in some states, which give employees the ability to opt out of compulsory union membership, could be crucial for the Hostess company’s comeback. The company went bankrupt last year, leaving many Americans nostalgic for the classic sugary snack cakes, after a standoff with its unionized workers. Thankfully, Twinkies are set to hit shelves again by July 15th thanks largely to non-union workers, bakeries located primarily in right-to-work states and their more efficient operating structure.

However, in many states, unions have used their political power to restrict a workers’ rights to opt out of membership. As a result of the union’s compulsory stranglehold on labor relations in both the public and private sectors, employees end up receiving harmful unintended consequences. In these states, employees  out on opportunities in jobs with many companies, like Hostess, when they decide to locate facilities outside of their borders. Additionally, union workers have no choice but to deduct a portion of their paycheck to support union policies that they may not agree with or are even antithetical to their political views.

Today ends a week of celebrating and bringing to light the ways employees across the nation can empower themselves to choose whether union membership is right for them.

When asked, “If it were possible to opt out of membership in a labor union without losing your job or any other penalty would you do it?” A national survey by the National Employee found that around 33% of union households would opt out of membership.

If you’re in that 33% percent with a union that isn’t serving you, acting against your own political interest, or you have a better way of spending your dues, visit http://employeefreedomweek.com/ and find the ways you, as a worker, can take back your right to choose.

Let’s Get Digital: An Education Revolution

Ollie_DigitalLearningIt’s Digital Learning Day today! 

Take a minute to imagine two different scenarios. First, a high school classroom where you take a class taught by a marine biologist from Monterey Bay in the morning and then read the classics with a Yale professor in the afternoon.

Now contrast that with what the majority of students have available to them in the established education system: A science classroom in the public school that falls within his or her zip code. Of course, parents can also choose to send their children to an expensive private school, but that option only works for those who can afford it.

Most teachers in these schools try their hardest to provide the best education they can, but shrinking state budgets, large class sizes, and administrative burdens from local, state, and federal rules and regulations weigh down the public education system.

The good news is that the first scenario is possible and many students are already experiencing it through digital education.

Digital education options include full-time online schools, part-time virtual courses, and classroom- based, blended-learning programs. At least 1.5 million K-12 students participated in online and blended-learning programs during the 2009-10 school year, according to the International Association for K-12 Online Learning. See Ryan’s story for a powerful example.

If we believe that our children are all unique individuals with varying capabilities, backgrounds, and passions, then shouldn’t their education reflect that belief?

Watch and share this story about Ollie and the possibilities of a digital revolution:

“What if, instead of one track, their are hundreds or even thousands of different tracks to take? What if I could go as fast or as slow as I wanted to?”

Protecting a Worker’s Right to Choose

There has been outspoken debate about the Right to Work law passed recently in Michigan. The issue boils down to a simple principle: one should not be coerced to join an association and have dues extracted from his or her paycheck as a condition of employment. Further, there Right to Work laws bring more prosperity to citizens in states that enact them.

Have you ever gone to purchase something and found out that to get the product you actually wanted, you were forced to buy something else you didn’t need?

Workers all over America face a similar situation when they are forced to join a union as a condition of their employment. Maybe the worker doesn’t like the union’s politics, maybe they don’t believe they are getting value for the amount of union dues they pay out each month, or maybe they believe they can represent themselves to the company better on their own. As it stands now, those reasons are invalid in many states because workers are required to join a union and have their dues extracted from their paycheck each month. The principle is simple – workers should have a right to choose who represents them in the workplace.

Watch the Freedom Foundation of Washington’s most recent Talk Back on Jobs video to see that right illustrated:

How do Right to Work laws help citizens?

  • Right-to-work means that unions can’t require an employee be fired for declining to pay union dues or agency fees, while maintaining a union’s ability to collectively bargain.
  • Right-to-work offers in-state opportunities for young workers. Between 2000 and 2011, right-to-work states have seen an increase of 11.3 percent in the number of residents between the ages of 25-34, according to the Bureau of the Census. Non-right-to-work states, over that same period of time, have seen an increase of only 0.6 percent.
  • Right-to-work means increasing wages. Private-sector, inflation-adjusted employee compensation in right-to-work states has grown by 12.0 percent between 2001-2011, according to data taken from the Bureau of Economic Analysis and Bureau of Labor Statistics. That compares with just 3.0 percent over the same period in forced-unionization states.
  • Right-to-work means low unemployment. Between 1999 and 2009, non-farm private-sector employment grew 3.7 percent in right-to-work states, but decreased 2.8 percent in non-right-to-work states. Further, the vast majority of jobs created during the Obama administration have been in states with a right-to-work law. According to the National Institute for Labor Relations Research, right-to-work states (excluding Indiana, which passed a right-to-work law in early 2012) “were responsible for 72 percent of all net household job growth across the U.S. from June 2009 through September 2012.”
  • Right-to-work makes states more attractive for business. States with right-to-work laws dominate the “Top States for Business,” as determined by CNBC. For 2012, nine out of the top 10 best states for business are right-to-work states. By contrast, Michigan is currently 33.

From The Mackinac Center for Public Policy