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Slaves in Indiana

The International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) filed a lawsuit claiming that Indiana’s right-to-work law violates the 13th Amendment, which states that “neither slavery nor involuntary servitude…shall exist within the United States.” The union claims that:

The Defendants have exacted compulsory service and/or involuntary servitude from the Union through the combination of the passage of the Right to Work law and the existing federal requirement of the duty of fair representation. Through these laws the Union is compelled to furnish services to all persons in bargaining units that it represents, but it may not require payment for those services because of the Right to Work law.

Never mind that the Supreme Court has ruled that unions are free to write contracts that cover only dues-paying members. They do not have to give services to nonmembers. So why is the IUOE fighting tooth and nail against Indiana’s law?

Right-to-work laws prevent unions from forcing workers to pay union dues. The IUOE argues (with a straight face) that this is akin to slavery.

Let’s not forget that individuals who choose to work in a unionized company in a Right to Work state are not to be required to join a Union as a condition of receiving or retaining a job.

In 22 states in the Union, workers have the freedom under “Right-to-Work” laws to decide whether or not to pay union dues, and now Indiana is poised to become the twenty-third state on that list, bringing the workers there renewed hope in an economy that has seen few glimmers of light.

Indiana raises the count to 23 states.

What is interesting is the “big picture” impact of living in a Right to Work state.

The American Legislative Exchange Council recently published research completed by the National Institute for Labor Relations which provides five different forms of tangible information regarding the economic differences between right to work and non-right to work states. The research completed was based upon statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, United States Census Bureau, United States Patent and Research Office and Bureau of Economic Analysis. Five economic factors were analyzed in right to work and non-right to work states in the Midwest, with the following statistical outcomes:

1. Percentage Growth in Non-Farm Private Sector Employees (1995-2005)
a. Right to Work States: 12.9%
b. Non-right to Work States: 6.0%

2. Average Poverty Rate-Adjusted for Cost of Living (2002-2004)
a. Right to Work States: 8.5%
b. Non-right to Work States: 10.1%

3. Percentage Growth in Patents Annually Granted (1995-2005)
a. Right to Work States: 33.0%
b. Non-right to Work States: 11.0%

4. Percentage Growth in Real Personal Income (1995-2005)
a. Right to Work States: 26.0%
b. Non-right to Work States: 19.0%

5. Percentage Growth in Number of People Covered by Employment Based Private Health Insurance (1995-2005):
a. Right to Work States: 8.5%
b. Non-right to Work States: 0.7%

As noted above, right to work states create more private sector jobs, enjoy lower poverty rates, experience more technology development, realize more personal income growth, and increase the number of people covered by employment-based private health insurance. These facts provide public policy thought leaders with compelling information regarding the importance of being a right to work state.

Unions will say that Right to Work legislation results in lower wages and benefits for everyone. If union membership is so attractive, wouldn’t people choose to pay union dues? The list (above), particularly items 4. and 5. suggest the opposite.

I think this isn’t about “equal pay for equal work,” it’s the power that the Unions have via the Union Dues. Their money pit influences legislation, elections and their employer. Any “crack in the dam” has to scare the Unions and their Union Bosses.

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Third Base Politics is an Ohio-centric conservative blog that has been featured at Hot Air, National Review, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, and others.


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