Support Workers Not Unions

“Vermont and Wisconsin may be states apart, but on Tuesday Vermont unions rallied in support of Wisconsin workers.”

This is the claim made in this Fox 44 News article.  Besides the obvious fact opposing budget cuts at a time when we are heading toward a spending induced fiscal armageddon is hardly in anyone’s interest, their is a distinction that is being missed here between supporting the interests of unions vs. the rights of individual workers.  As Bruce Shields out in our Letters section:

“Despite very extensive coverage of the contest between public employee unions and the State government in Wisconsin, one feature has not been noted. Gov. Walker’s proposed legislation would restrict certain privileges uniquely granted to labor unions, which have the power to limit a citizen’s employment based on membership in the Union. No other class of organization is granted such extensive economic powers over individuals. The US Supreme court in 1988 [Communication Workers vs. Beck] recognized that such extensive powers may be abused, and mandated a degree of transparency and personal liberty to persons otherwise compelled to pay dues under Union Shop rules. The Supreme Court insisted that while dues to fund the bargaining and representation function of a union could be compelled from an unwilling employee, the lobbying and political advocacy portion of the dues could not be. The court established that unions must disclose publicly periodically what fraction of dues was devoted to different kinds of activity. Because of union hostility, most States, including Wisconsin, have never acted to enforce the Beck mandates. In some measure Gov. Walker’s proposed legislation establishes for Wisconsin workers their Beck rights. It would be helpful if the media generally recognized the relationship of several sections of the Wisconsin law to Beck workers rights, and that some of the hostility stems from a reluctance by many unions to conform to Beck standards of disclosure and openness.”