Forced union dues are an injustice

As you watch your children board the school bus for the first day back to classes, consider this: That school bus driver is likely forced to pay fees to a union as a condition of driving that bus.

Why? Because Pennsylvania is one of the 22 forced unionism states in America — states where a union official can legally have a worker fired for not paying union dues or fees.

You are not alone if this sounds absurd.

According to a national Gallup poll, nearly 80 percent of Americans agree: No worker should be forced to pay union fees as a condition of employment.

Big labor union bosses in your state enjoy a special privilege that allows them to expand their ranks through compulsion. Union bosses can impose a monopoly bargaining contract, which virtually always includes a forced-dues clause that requires every employee (even the ones who did not vote for the union) to pay tribute to the union bosses, just for the privilege of having a job.

While forced unionism is just plain wrong, coercing workers into subsidizing union officials also holds back a state’s economy.

There are now 28 Right to Work states in America, with Kentucky and Missouri joining the ranks earlier this year. These states have passed laws to strip away Big Labor’s power to force workers to pay them fees as a condition of employment.

The absence of forced unionism gives Right to Work states an economic leg-up.

From 2005-15, private-sector job growth was 15.4 percent in Right to Work states compared to 10.4 percent in forced unionism states according to the National Institute for Labor Relations Research.

Furthermore, the report found that once you adjusted for the cost of living, workers in Right to Work states had on average $2,500 more to spend in disposable personal income than their forced unionism counterparts.

Of course, the better economic climate might explain why NILRR reports that from 2006-16, Right to Work sates saw population growth for people in their peak earning years (ages 35-54).

The facts speak for themselves.

So it is no surprise that a growing number of states are eager to cast off Big Labor’s chokehold, free their workforce, and realize the economic opportunity a Right to Work law would bring.

And that is why in recent years a half dozen states — including Michigan, West Virginia and Wisconsin each dominated for years by Big Labor — have passed Right to Work laws, freeing their workers from Big Labor’s ironclad grip.

Right to Work laws do not outlaw labor unions, and they do not prevent any worker from joining a labor union.

Right to Work laws simply codify one, commonsense principle: Every worker should have the choice to join a labor union, but no worker should be forced to pay fees to a union as condition of employment.

So as you celebrate this three-day weekend, consider the benefits of Right to Work.

Consider your unemployed neighbor that might find a job.

Consider the new manufacturing plant that might open its doors.

Consider what you might do with an extra $2,500 of spending power in your pocket.

Mark Mix is the president of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation and the National Right to Work Committee.