Earlier this year, Herman Cain was in California attending a private conference hosted by two successful and prominent businessmen to discuss issues of national interest. During the conference, about 1,000 SEIU protestors gathered across the street, chanting slogans against the group. In his new book released last week, This Is Herman Cain!, Cain writes, “My fellow conferees and I wondered: Why would anyone object to a group of citizens meeting peacefully to discuss common concerns?”
As Mr. Cain points out, it’s because union leaders and the left in general are not interested in a free society where people can think for themselves. He notes that the unions went “ballistic” when Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin proposed a solution to the state’s problems that did not include raising taxes. He continues, “This type of ‘Big Brother’ government thinking inherent in union aims is becoming increasingly outdated. That dog won’t hunt. Liberal lunacy is not in our national DNA.”
On May 5, right before going on stage for the first debate between candidates for the Republican Party’s 2012 presidential nomination at the Peace Center, in Greenville, South Carolina, Cain’s campaign manager, Mark Block, said, “Herman, you don’t have to be perfect out there. Just be Herman Cain.” And so he was. And later, pollster Frank Luntz asked a focus group how many had supported Cain before the debate. One person raised her hand. Luntz asked how many supported him after the debate, and suddenly a sea of hands went up—forever changing Cain. As Cain writes, “Frank said, ‘Just stop right there!’ Those words are going to be ringing in my ears for the rest of my life.”
80% of Union Members Want Freedom to Choose
In October of 2010, Frank Luntz was commissioned by the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, Inc., to perform a benchmark study of election-year attitudes among labor union employees. Respondents were members of unions evenly split between the private and government sectors. They were asked whether they strongly agree, somewhat agree, somewhat disagree or strongly disagree with the following statement: “Union workers should have the right to know how their dues money is being spent. The Department of Labor should disclose union spending on the Internet to ensure accountability.” The respondents answered with a resounding “net agree” total of 89%—91% of private-sector workers and 87% of public-sector workers.
Another statement offered by Luntz: “Workers should have the right to decide whether to join a union. They should never be forced or coerced to join or pay dues to a union as a condition of employment.” Once again, the answer was a resounding net agree total of 80%—79% of private-sector workers and 80% of public-sector workers. It is fair to say that union membership, at both the private and government levels, are concerned about how their dues money is being spent. It is also fair to say that being forced by union leadership to join a union is not a notion that members find remotely appealing.
Government Is the 800-Pound Gorilla
According to the Union Member Summary for 2010 issued by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the majority of union members (7.1 million) are public-sector employees. Union membership for public-sector workers (36.2%) was substantially higher than for private-sector workers (6.9%). The highest union membership rate (42.3%) belonged to local government workers, including teachers, police officers, and firefighters. The public-sector union leaders are the 800-pound gorilla that forces unionism and piles up on the taxpayer through collective bargaining and binding arbitration to the detriment of the inhabitants of the state.
New Hampshire Votes Wednesday on Right-to-Work
On Wednesday the New Hampshire House will have an override vote of Governor John Lynch’s veto of the Right-to-Work bill. In his piece “The Correlation of Right to Work and State Congressional Seats Gained,” House member Patrick Abrami of Stratham says:
My vote for the override will be driven by my belief that every person should be allowed to establish a relationship with their employer.
This in no way should impede an individual’s right to join and support a union. The reality is that in the 21st century, most employers are enlightened and realize they are competing for talent in the marketplace. Therefore, most employers treat their employees well, just as I and my fellow partners do with our 30 employees at my company.
This is one of the reasons why only 10 percent of workers are unionized today. Unions are a good check against the handful of not-so-enlightened employers. Thus, unions are a check on employers. To me, Right to Work is a check on unions.
In my opinion, no Legislature should vote against a worker’s right to work, just as no Legislature should vote against the right of workers to unionize. The right to work is a fundamental right. Of the 22 Right-to-Work states, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Mississippi, and Oklahoma have this right enshrined in their state constitutions.
I will never vote against the right of any hard-working citizen from working for the employer of their choice or from preventing them from establishing a direct relationship with that employer.
Unlike liberal lunacy, having a choice about joining a union is in our DNA—and right-to-work laws are how we get that choice.