Right to work: Busting unions for their own good

Corrupt unions should be allowed to fail, so that better ones can take their place Photo: Mother Jones/ Wikicommons

WASHINGTON, November 19, 2013 — As an ardent activist, I have been accused of being anti-union. Nothing could be farther from the truth. I am more pro-union than any of the current cadre in control of America’s unions. 

Unions are a good thing. Without them, corrupt capitalists would never have stopped squeezing the blood and sweat from the brow of labor. Unions made millions free, and helped build the middle class.

I once believed that, and still do today. Near my home in the Anthracite Region of Pennsylvania, Molly Maguires fought and bled. Ten of them were hanged nearby, on the infamous “Day of the Rope”. Mother Jones herself worked to organize mine workers here, over a century ago.

Small boys worked like grown men in the mines. Owners unconcerned with worker safety allowed conditions that caused horrendous routine accidents. If a man lost his arm, he was unable to work, and evicted from his mine-owned home. If he couldn’t pay what was owed to the company store, he was jailed, his family left to starve in the street.

But the corruption and greed that infected robber barons was never theirs alone. No one is immune. No organization’s leaders are entirely adamant. Every institution ever devised has been subject to moral sabotage. Unions are no exception. What once worked for workers now works against them.

America’s unions have become a bane. They suck money from the working-man’s pocket and drive jobs overseas. They bully business and cow workers. They ‘represent’ folks who never voted for them. They use forced dues and fees for Progressive political causes that have nothing to do with rank-and-file’s jobs. They set up internal voting systems so stringent that they make the two-party system look like a parliamentary free-for-all, ensuring no one gets into Union office except hand-picked cronies.

As the main source of funding and organizational manpower for Progressive political efforts, unions actively threaten American Constitutional government. Freedom begins at home. In order that business thrive and workers’ salaries grow, union bosses must go.

The growing Right to Work movement is the best hope for unions. When unionism is made voluntary, it forces unions to compete for dollars by providing what the worker wants. All RTW laws do is prevent unions from mandating dues and fees, freeing workers to decide for themselves if union participation is in their own best interest. If corrupt unions that do nothing to improve the lot of their workers fail, others will arise and offer a better deal. That’s the American way.

(In the interests of transparency and full disclosure, as SEIU Shop Steward, I found that almost all grievances not settled at the first step in our own shop, were never settled at all. They rose, step by step to the top, and sat there for years on end. Despite millions of dollars in dues and fees collected every year, union bosses refused to arbitrate any matter, no matter how desperate workers were for relief. When I ran unsuccessfully for President of my Local, the platform was to concentrate solely on the mandate of contract negotiation and maintenance, eschewing all extraneous matters unless a majority of members specifically decided it was needed. When that didn’t work, I had to sue SEIU in Federal Court just to resign membership. While I was at it, I got them to significantly reduce fees for all non-members forced to pay as condition of employment, by insisting on outside audit. Even with a Prog auditing firm, they just couldn’t justify all the money stolen for partisan political purposes. Then I designated my fees go to the charity of my choice, a local Pro-Life group. Wish I could see their faces when they cut the quarterly checks! I am no academic, kibitzing from the sidelines with theories based on esoterics. I’ve got scars. And my fight continues…)

 

 


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Daniel Martin Gray

Daniel Martin Gray is a former Progressive who saw the light, turning from the dark side over decades, to become a Constitutionalist. His family that remained in Europe was nearly wiped out by the Holocaust. They refused to believe that tyranny could happen there. He sees America marching “Forward” on that same road, exactly as our Founders warned us against.

 

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