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We should change the name of National Right To Work Committee to the Worker’s Liberation Front. Maybe then we could get some sympathetic press coverage for the real civil rights issue in the employment realm – and no, I am no talking about collective bargaining privileges for public sector employees.
Indiana is about to become the 23rd state to pass Right To Work legislation, liberating its working citizens from compulsory unionization and adding workplace freedom to the state’s already favorable business climate. Union leaders have expressed their obligatory condemnation of freedom; they will be joined by liberals, Democrats, media, and timid Republicans for whom liberty is a statue and a bell, not a lifestyle.
Up North we called it a woofing contest – you know, when the first dog starts barking, which gets the next going and the next, and pretty soon the whole neighborhood is yapping and howling without any idea why; even the first one forgot if it was a squirrel or the postman that got it all agitated. Mention the word “union” and all the mutts go off – as if the past 100 years hadn’t happened and children were still working in textile mills. Check that, as if there were still textile mills to work in.
That’s where the WLF comes in – the media lapdogs wouldn’t know what do with us. We could wear berets and army jackets and wrap-around shades and cross our arms over our chests while scowling. I’ve been watching that move for 45 years now; one little guy talks smack into a microphone while some big guys stand behind him and nod on cue - kind of like a stationary Little Anthony and the Imperials with a bad attitude and no talent.
Nobody on the left ever questions an organization with “front” or “liberation” or “worker” in its name. They reflexively fawn over berets and army jackets – maybe it is a thing for uniforms, I don’t know. I read somewhere recently that women like brooding guys, and maybe it’s that sulking pout that does the trick. Guys are easier to figure – we pretend to like whatever our girlfriends are into until football comes on or they marry us, whichever comes first. C’mon, get over yourself, it was just a joke...
But rights are no joking matter. The debate over Right To Work in Indiana will be once again be argued on a false premise, namely that compulsory unionism, imposed by government force, is the default setting from which the departure to workplace freedom needs to be justified. Wrong. Freedom is the default setting in the land of the free; it is union extortion that needs to be justified. Good luck with that.
Your individual right to work trumps any collective privilege that allows me plus 50% of our co-workers to deny you that right unless you pay a third party tribute to the organization of my choosing. When the mob extracts protection money from a business, it busts windows and knees to enforce compliance; when a union does it, the state does its dirty work at taxpayer expense. The tax-paying employer gets beat with his own belt and the workers ultimately bear the welts.
Compulsory union membership as a condition of employment is extortion, and no number of gooey solidarity songs or Sally Field movies can make it anything different. Forcing an employer to be an accomplice, through mandatory dues withholding, is conspiracy to commit. If it were any other organization holding the employer and employee hostage – the mob, KKK, Catholic Church, NRA – prosecutors would be drafting RICO charges. If it were Al Qaeda instead of AFL-CIO, we would be sending drone aircraft to take out Richard Trumka.
Is Al-Qaeda a bit over-the-top? Perhaps - but it was Trumka’s unionists, not the Taliban, that literally did take hostages recently at the illegal strikes in our West Coast ports. That’s what they think of the working man (and woman) over at Team Extortion. That’s who is doing the war-mongering against the middle class. Read down the list of Forbes 400 wealthiest Americans – none of them have ever taken hostages.
Those union knuckle-draggers will excuse their criminal behavior (what criminal doesn’t?) and say that the labor movement has to crack some heads to get justice, that we have a tradition of violence in this country’s labor history. That is an asinine argument; we also have a tradition of beating gays, killing prostitutes, spiking Haloween candy, abusing Congressional interns, and driving drunk – that doesn’t make any of those things right.
Invest in Indiana. Surrounded by fiscal insanity (Illinois, Michigan, Ohio) they will take one more step out ahead of the pack when they pass Right To Work. The people of Indiana are going be very happy they did this; good jobs at good wages beats no jobs at unaffordable wages. The honchos at the UAW don’t care how many autoworkers they put out of work – they get their new Cadillac every year regardless.
The Midwest’s best and brightest will flock to Indiana when they pass Right To Work, and a rush of new capital will be there to meet them. The best managers and designers want to work where their ideas can be implemented willingly; it is not just the blue collar workforce that will be upgraded. They will innovate; they will grow; they will thrive and prosper together. And the unions will either add value or die – and I’m not taking “add value”, even with points.
The bottom line the unionists don’t want you to know is that states with Right To Work laws have seen their median incomes rise at twice the rate of states without Right To Work protections. Wisconsin could have been the first Midwest magnet for investment and job growth that Indiana will now become; we missed our chance to be first in line for the updraft.
But it’s ok to be the second, and it’s not like Governor Walker has to worry that the unions might get mad about it and do something rash, like try to recall him or something. At this point, it would not matter if he joined the Teamsters and discovered Jimmy Hoffa’s body at the Koch brothers’ HQ, so he might as well give himself and the rest of us a shot at those 250,000 new jobs he promised and pass RTW right now.
Act 10 gave Wisconsin public employees the right to join a union or work union free; now private sector employees should have the same right. Wisconsin should join Indiana in guaranteeing workplace freedom for all of its citizens, and let Illinois keep their unions, tax hikes, corruption, the Obamas, and the Bears.
“Moment Of Clarity” is a weekly commentary by Libertarian writer and speaker Tim Nerenz, Ph.D. Visit Tim’s website www.timnerenz.com to find your moment.