- - Tuesday, August 18, 2015

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Last Sunday, August 16 marked the beginning of National Employee Freedom Week, an event celebrated by a coalition of 97 groups in 42 states across the country. Its purpose, as you may very well guess, is to educate union workers on their freedoms and rights to opt out of their collective bargaining units.

According to a recent, nationwide poll released by the Nevada Policy Research Institute, nearly 40 percent of union households polled didn’t know that they had the option to opt-out of union membership and the automatic deductions of dues from their paycheck. This is a troubling statistic, and American workers should be cognizant of their rights and freedoms. That’s why National Employee Freedom Week is making a nationwide effort to educate union employees on their options, so that they can make the best individual decision for themselves — without union coercion.

Unions are an outdated relic of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s presidency, when labor laws were enacted in order to protect against workplace abuse. Today, we have strong laws to protect workers and alternative professional organizations workers can join, at a fraction of the cost.

Lately, workers have been leaving unions by the droves. Big Labor is struggling to recruit members, and according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, union membership has hit its lowest rate in 100 years. Membership has been in steady decline over the past thirty years. That’s why union bosses who sit on the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) are getting desperate and doing everything they can to pass anti-competitive rules to pressure employees to unionize. We see this with the NLRB’s rash ambush election rule, which took effect in April, and has already proven to have its intended effect of helping pad union rolls. Since its enactment, the number of election petitions has surged 15 percent.

The NLRB’s new recruitment tactics coerce workers into affiliations without adequate time or information to make an informed decision. The new policy speeds up election times from a previous average of 38 days to now, as few as ten. Ten days is not adequate time for a workplace to prepare for an election or for employees to gather information on the potential impacts of unionization on their workplace or from their paychecks. The rule chills employee free speech, limiting what employers can talk to their workers about, while giving union organizers carte blanche to make empty promises and coerce workers into unionizing.

Unions not only use coercion and intimidation to encourage workers to join, but they also continue to intimidate workers who wish to leave and are not forthcoming with the options workers have to opt-out. And of course they aren’t – all they care about is getting their cut from your paycheck, helping fill their coffers and further boosting their influence.

The ambush election rule has opened the door even wider, granting union bosses access to troves of employees’ personal information, including their home and cell phone numbers, personal email addresses, job classifications, shift info, and home addresses. Unions have limitless ways to now coerce employees into the collective.

Unions are selling a product few need or want anymore. Workers would rather keep that additional $1,000 plus a year and use it to help pay off their mortgage or take their family on a vacation – not hand it over to big labor bosses who have a history of misusing funds or spending them on political causes not everyone agrees with.

In fact, a staggering 91 percent of political spending by unions goes to support Democratic candidates, while 43 percent of union households vote Republican. Why should workers be forced to make political donations to candidates they don’t even believe in? Many workers are wising up, and realizing that there are much better uses for their money.

That’s why this National Employee Freedom Week, it’s critical that workers educate themselves on their rights. If you are currently in a union and want out, you have options. Workers should be free to make the decision that’s right for them, not big labor cronies. Get the facts; understand the alternatives.

Heather Greenaway is a spokesperson for the Workforce Fairness Institute (WFI).

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