Editor's Note: This column was written by Chase Downham.
Economic freedom is often conflated with “business interests.” In reality, economic freedom is about promoting the individual’s interest. The Indiana State Legislature has great opportunity this year to advance economic freedom for our state’s individual workers.
Economic freedom enables individuals to build prosperity for themselves and their families. Workers enjoy economic freedom to the extent that they are able to freely offer their time and labor to potential employers. Unfortunately, Indiana law makes it difficult for the state’s workers to offer their labor to an employer if they object to joining a union or paying compulsory union dues. This is a result of the special protections for Indiana’s unions which allow them to form “union shops” and deny employment to non-union members. Workers who object to joining the local union or paying union dues may find themselves out of work.
Indiana should end this practice by passing a Right to Work law.
Right to Work laws do not prohibit unions from forming or inhibit collective bargaining. They do not discriminate against unions or union workers.
Rather, Right to Work laws create a level playing field for all workers and prevent discrimination against non-union members. In 22 states across the nation, Right to Work laws ensure that all workers enjoy the economic freedom to offer their labor and find employment according to their skills and talents, not the arbitrary demands of a local union.
Further, Right to Work laws protect workers for being forced to support political causes with which they disagree. Oftentimes, forced union dues are used to advance political candidates and issues which have little or nothing to do with local union concerns and which are certainly at odds with the political convictions of some union members.
Forcing workers to finance the political campaigns they oppose is simply unjust. No less a Democrat than the American framer Thomas Jefferson used no uncertain terms when he wrote: “To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves is sinful and tyrannical.” Right to Work will end the tyranny of forcing Indiana’s workers to “give” their hard-earned money to politicians and causes they oppose.
Right to Work is also an economic winner for the workers fortunate to live in one of the 22 states with Right to Work protections.