Under the principles of limited government espoused by the American Founding Fathers who wrote and approved our Constitution two-and-a-quarter centuries ago and most Americans today, public decisions are generally made by majority rule, but private decisions are not unless all parties affected by the decision agree to it. For example, the fact that the majority of the defendants in a criminal case choose to be represented by one attorney does not mean all of the defendants have to be represented by that attorney. The fact that the majority of businesses in a community join the local chamber of commerce does not mean that all local businesses have to join.
Right to Work foes routinely reject the commonly accepted principle that private parties who don’t consent to participate in group decision making can’t be bound by the decisions of the group.
Under the system Right to Work foes advocate, if a majority of front-line employees in a workplace favor unionization, then the employer can be forced to recognize the union, and workers who don’t want the union can be forced to accept it as their “exclusive” bargaining agent on matters concerning their pay, benefits, and work rules. Furthermore, if union officials ask, the employer is forced to negotiate with them over the inclusion of a contract clause making dues or fee payment to the union a condition of employment.
But forced-unionism apologists are rarely consistent in their advocacy of “majority rule” regarding the individual worker’s unionization. They think the individual worker should not be free to refuse to bankroll a union when a majority want one, but they never criticize the provisions in federal law and every state law that have long protected the worker’s individual right to join and bankroll a union, even if a majority of his or her fellow employees don’t want one.
In an anti-Right to Work screed published last week (see the link below), Ohio professors union boss Greg Loving inappropriately and selectively invokes “majority rule” over workers’ private decision-making regarding union affiliation in a manner typical of forced-unionism advocates. Shortly after his op-ed appeared, I emailed Dr. Loving to ask him if he believed that, when a majority of employees at a workplace oppose unionization, they should be able to vote to deny the minority who want a union the freedom to pay dues to the union of their choice. So far, I have heard nothing from Loving.
The fact is, when it’s selective, it isn’t really “majority rule.” It’s tyranny of the majority — a tyranny Loving and his ilk would rightly find intolerable if the shoe were on the other foot.