There was a time when little children would work an entire day, skipping school to do it, and only make 4 cents for their back breaking work. There was a time in America when men worked back breaking jobs for 12 hours a day, often in very unsafe conditions, just to get enough money to feed their families. There was a time in America when there were such tragedies as the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire in New York, in which over a hundred girls died because the managers had locked the doors on them so no one could leave the job and cost the owners money.
Of course, these abuses are things of the past. We don’t lock innocent girls in anymore and children don’t mine coal for 4 cents a day, at least not here. This is in a very large part due to the advent of the unions, those volatile, controversial institutions which have saved many a man and woman from harsh conditions, and caused many a capitalist to lose sleep at night.
However, for all the good unions have done in America, from the fields of California to the high rises in Chicago, they are a lobbying group. Not that lobbying groups are bad, but they are a lobbying group nonetheless.
In America, we have a long tradition of not forcing people to be in clubs or lobbying groups or anything they don’t want to be in. If you want to leave the nation all together, you are free to do so. And that is why forcing people to be a part of a union not only makes no sense, it is un-American.
But all the same, many states are non-right-to-work states. Either you are a member of a union in many industries, or you are out of a job.
In some states, such as possible Republican candidate Scott Walker’s, Wisconsin, have made their state right to work states-Which is completely logical. You have a right to a union. Nobody who was intelligent would say unions are themselves a bad thing. But if you can’t afford the dues, or simply don’t want to join one, you have a right to work anyway. (Yes, everybody has a right to work.)
For a long time I thought militant unions had an argument for why people should not have a right to work and not join a union. I had never heard it, and I was sure it was wrong, but I thought they must have something that they at least saw as rational, however wrong it was. But I have realized that the militant unions do not have a reason you should not be allowed to work unless you were one of them. The only argument is “it would hurt unions.”
Well that’s unfortunate. But I have a question that should be asked to anyone stomping their feet and shouting that everyone should have to be a part of a union. “Someone not joining the NRA would hurt the NRA, so shouldn’t we all be forced to join? They are a lobbying group, aren’t they?” Anyone making the argument that everyone should be forced to join a union might as well make the argument that everyone should have to, by law, join the NRA.
It probably won’t win the argument right off, but it might get somebody thinking.
Andrew C. Abbott