Reblogged from Forbes, posted there on 12/11/2012
One of the enduring myths of legislation designed to bring ‘right-to-work’ laws to the states is the notion that these laws actually have something to do with the right to work.
They decidedly do not.
While—as we will see—the misnomer has nothing whatsoever to do with granting anyone a right to get work or protecting those who have a job from losing it, this “misunderstanding-by-design” has not prevented the Michigan legislature from sending two bills to the desk of Governor Rick Snyder.—legislation that, upon execution, will turn Michigan into the 24th state to adopt right-to-work laws.
Accordingly, this seems an appropriate moment to set the record straight on what these laws are, in actuality, intended to achieve.
Let’s begin by noting that many Americans continue to believe that unionism is based around the concept of the ‘closed shop’ —an agreement between an employer and the union representing the employer’s workers requiring that the employer hire only labor union members or, if nonmembers are employed, they must become a member of the union within a stated period of time or lose their job.
The Taft-Hartley Act, passed in 1947, which amended the National Labor Relations Act of 1935, did away with the “closed shop” era in America during which an employee—who either resisted joining the union or lost his union membership as a result of failing to pay dues or some other violation—was required to be dismissed by the employer as a result of the worker losing, or never accomplishing, union member status.
But there was much more to this law.
The Taft-Hartley Act additionally required that employment agreements collectively bargained for to benefit union members would also be required to inure to the complete benefit of non-member employees, even though these employees elect not to join the union.
Already knew all of that? Excellent.
But did you know that Taft-Hartley further requires that the union be additionally obligated to provide non-members’ with virtually all the benefits of union membership even if that worker elects not to become a card-carrying union member? Read more>>