Are Unions Really for the “Little Guy”?
Unions like to present themselves as the protector of the worker from the big, bad employer. Once upon a time, that was dead on right. Those days have passed though, and now unions feel they need to do whatever is necessary to stay alive.
With Michigan’s new right to work law, unions took a big, big hit. However, the teacher’s union in that state has gotten…let’s just say “creative” …with how to stay relevant despite the state no longer permitting mandatory union membership.
A school district is attempting to force teachers to pay union dues for the next 10 years, despite being located in Michigan, which is now a right-to-work state that specifically prohibits mandatory unionization.
Michigan became the 24th right-to-work state in December. But the law doesn’t take effect until March 28 — giving unions time to grandfather in their contracts if they can get them approved before the deadline. As part of this effort, the Taylor School District approved an entirely separate “union security agreement” that will force teachers to keep paying the union until 2023.
Under the security agreement, teachers’ only options will be to pay union dues, or pay an agency fee amounting to about $800 a year.
Maybe it’s just me, but this has me scratching my head. I mean, the law actually forbids these side agreements. The new right-to-work law was put in place so that individuals have the right to determine whether or not they want to be part of a union. Not only that, but this is a public sector profession…the kind that draws all its money from the taxpayers. All of that, and yet, we see that the unions are bound and determined to take money from people who may not have any interest in giving it over willingly.
Of course, the three teachers fighting some of this have something else they want to point out:
[Rebecca] Metz, [Angela] Steffke, and [Nancy] Rhatigan don’t like the collective bargaining agreement, either. It forces them to accept 10 percent pay cuts even though the salaries of top union leaders — such as David Hecker, president of the Michigan chapter of the American Federation of Teachers — increased in recent years.
“Our rights should not be hindered nor denied because the union wants to insure a constant revenue flow while bargaining away our salaries and benefits with impunity,” said Steffke in a statement.
Unions, once there to protect the “little guy” now exists for a different reason. It has for a while. That reason is to enrich those run the union at the expense of those who they are supposedly there to protect.
And some folks wonder why I’m not a big fan of unions.