Union Bosses Ignore Indiana Workers’ Mandate for Right to Work Law

The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation has helped Indiana workers to file amicus brief on behalf of the state of Indiana now that the AFL-CIO wolf is trying to blow the Right to Work Law down.  Asheesh Agarwal writes, in the Library of Law and Liberty:     

Amidst a series of setbacks at both the ballot box and the court house, the fate of the compulsory union movement may depend in large measure on the outcome of two lawsuits currently pending in Indiana. 

The union’s primary complaint, however, is that the law reduces its revenues.  In a revealing affidavit, a union organizer explained that, in light of the right-to-work law, union members would have the freedom to pursue their own self-interest, to the detriment of the union:  “I believe the ability to cease paying dues completely may prove too attractive for some of our members to resist.  If just 10 percent of the Union’s Indiana members resign, the Union will lose at least $600,000 in annual revenues.”  Remarkably, the union essentially concedes that a significant portion of its members would leave the union if they were free to pursue their own self-interest.

The state lawsuit has a narrower focus.  That lawsuit alleges that the right-to-work law forces unions to represent non-members for free, in violation of state law.  By way of background, the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) requires a certified union to represent all members of a bargaining unit, including non-members.  As a result, a certified union must handle grievances and other matters for non-members, even if those non-members refuse to pay dues.  The unions complain that the NLRA thereby allows some employees to “free ride” off of the union’s efforts.  (One response to this complaint is that non-members are denied the right to negotiate their own terms and conditions of employment, and may not want the union’s “representation,” so they are actually better characterized as “forced riders.”  Another response to this complaint is that the union’s duty to represent non-members should be viewed as a “cost of doing business” – because a certified union has the extraordinary power to represent even non-members, and because that monopoly power enhances the union’s bargaining position, the union therefore also must have the responsibility to represent the non-members).