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December 12, 2012

Ezra Klein: Often Wrong, Never In Doubt

Right to free-ride? Really?

Via Heritage's Lachlan Markay (as noted by Gabe in this morning's headline post) comes this piece entitled The Right-to-Freeload Myth that hits Juicebox square in the junk.

Right-to-work laws prevent unions from imposing mandatory fees, giving employees the right to work without paying union dues. Otherwise, right-to-work has no effect on collective bargaining. All other negotiations continue as before. What's wrong with that?

Unions object that right-to-work is actually "right-to-freeload." The AFL-CIO argues "unions are forced by law to protect all workers, even those who don't contribute financially toward the expenses incurred by providing those protections." They contend they should not have to represent workers who do not pay their "fair share."

It is a compelling argument, but untrue. The National Labor Relations Act does not mandate unions exclusively represent all employees, but permits them to electively do so. Under the Act, unions can also negotiate "members-only" contracts that only cover dues-paying members. They do not have to represent other employees.

Why all the anger then?

Oh, right. If you're in the union leadership, not representing non-members doesn't pay nearly as well as forcibly extracting dues from people who wouldn't otherwise join the union. And lower dues coming in means less money to shower on politicians who'll vote to keep the scam going.

Frame that, Ezra.

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posted by Andy at 09:30 AM

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