Unions have helped to build the economy of the United States into an economic force that leads the world. Initially designed to help provide workers with safer working conditions and more competitive pay, today people see the mandatory requirement to join a union to have a job as a violation of their rights. Many states have agreed with this thought and have passed right to work laws that don’t require a worker to join a union or pay union dues, even if the job has been unionized.
There are some pros and cons to think about regarding the right to work concept, so here is a look at them in some greater detail.
What Are the Pros of the Right to Work Concept?
1. It may make the job market more competitive.
If unions aren’t holding the keys to the kingdom and mandating certain salary requirements, employers are able to still pay fair wages to employees while providing more overall jobs. This benefits the entire community because more people are working, saving, and spending.
2. It doesn’t degrade the safety of the work place.
Organizations like OSHA still have regular inspections of work environments that may have dangers lurking within them. Fines for safety violations found by the government can be thousands of dollars per day. Because of this, unions don’t need to take on the safety role any more.
3. It allows employers to get rid of bad employees immediately.
Imagine having an employee who shows up to work, doesn’t do anything all day, and then demands a paycheck for the “work” they did as they go home. Some union contracts wouldn’t allow an employer to fire this employee because production levels wouldn’t be considered a “just cause.” In a right to work state, the outcome would be very different.
What Are the Cons of the Right to Work Concept?
1. It may reduce wages across the state.
Eliminating the requirement for unionization also eliminates many of the benefits of it. The biggest benefit that most industries see with an active union is an increase in pay. Some industries may see income reductions of up to 30% with a union’s help.
2. It eliminates a unified worker’s voice.
Unions help to bring together people from all walks of life so that they can be a unified voice to their managers and business owners. By eliminating the need to join a union, a state is effectively taking the power of unification away from the workers and giving it to the managers instead, which means workers typically have less say over their work environment.
3. It places a burden on other workers.
If a union is present and an employee is not required to join it, then they’ll still receive all of the benefits of being unionized without having to pay for it. That means a greater burden is placed on every employee who does decide to join a union to protect themselves. It may even mean that an employer could create unionized and non-unionized job descriptions.
Everyone should have the right to work. Should that also include the right to decide if joining a union is in their best interest? By weighing the pros and cons of this subject, everyone can decide on the side of the debate that supports their personal views.