Right To Work laws need fixing.

Here is a letter to the editor that I just sent to The Des Moines Register – in response to both an editorial and a letter that were recently published on the subject:

Both sides of the “Right To Work” laws are wrong.  The right answer is that the government should get out of the business of regulating employment relationships between private employers and employees.  Neither employees nor employers should be forced by our government to do something against their will.  And both employers and workers should be prohibited from using force against the other.

That means private employers should be free to negotiate or not negotiate with a union and workers should be free to strike or call for boycotts against any employer.  If they want, private employers should be free to require that all of their employees join the union.  Employees should be free to accept an employer’s terms of employment, negotiate better terms, or look elsewhere for work.  In all cases, no one, including the government, should be able to use force against anyone else.

In the case of government employment, the government should not be forced by law to negotiate with a union and employees should not be forced by law to join a union.

Right-to-work laws need a change.

Laws and regulations should not require a person to join a union in order to work for a unionized employer, including the government.  But for privately owned businesses, the owners should be able to work exclusively with a union, and require employees to join the union, if that is what the owners want.  Most if not all right-to-work laws do not give owners that right.  Those laws should be changed.

Right To Work – amendment proposal is bad.

Both current Iowa law and the proposed “right to work” amendment to the Iowa Constitution prohibit a private business owner from voluntarily agreeing to hire only union members.

In a free society that respects private property rights and freedom of association, business owners should be free to choose whether or not to bargain with anyone or group about any terms of employment.  Government should not get involved either for or against the employer or the employees except to stop either party from using force or fraud against the other.  If an employer wants to hire only union members and bargain with a single group, then government should not prohibit it.  In that case, individuals who don’t want to join the union can simply refuse to work for that employer.

Just as an employer should be free to agree to hire only people who are members of a union, an employer should also be free to not bargain with any individual or group, including unions, regardless of what employees or union members might vote for.  Unless the parties agree by voluntary contract to the contrary, employees should be free to strike, quit, protest, organize boycotts, etc., and employers should be free to fire, lock-out, hire replacements, etc. – as long as neither party uses force.

The whole issue of whether “union certification votes” should be by secret ballot or by a written card check method should not exist.  There should be no law to force employers to bargain with unions, even if 100% of the employees vote for it.  All employment relationships and contracts should be entered into voluntarily by both parties.  The only proper role for government in private business relationships is to stop the use force or fraud against, and to resolve disputes.

In the special case of government as the employer, there should be no requirement that employees join a union, and there should be no requirement that a government bargain with any union.  Government is paid for by all taxpayers under threat of force.  Therefore, government, as an employer, should not discriminate in its employment practices except on the basis of job requirements or job performance.

The proposed amendment to the Iowa Constitution should die, and current Iowa law should be changed to reflect the voluntary nature of any employment relationship.