Leah Barkoukis

You didn’t think Michigan’s labor unions would let right-to-work laws take effect without enacting some sort of retribution, did you? Apparently one Michigan union, Operating Engineers Local 324, is publishing a quarterly “Freeloaders List” of the names of those who opt out of union membership and their place of work, NRO reports.

That puts non-union workers at increased risk of intimidation and violence—something that’s certainly not unprecedented in Michigan. Regardless, there’s currently no law preventing unions such as Michigan’s Local 324 from publishing lists of members who opt out, says Richard Berman, executive director of the Center for Union Facts.

The unions argue it’s not fair that they are forced to represent workers who don’t pay dues. This ‘freeloading’ claim is deceptive, however, because unions actually chose to offer representation to both paying and non-paying members in contract negotiations, Patrick Semmens, vice president of the National Right to Work Foundation, explained to NRO.

Unions want to represent all workers regardless of membership status because it affords them greater rights under federal law. Such monopoly-representation unions can force an employer to come to the bargaining table, for example, or file a case with the National Labor Relations Board claiming the employer has failed to bargain in good faith. If a union chose to represent only those workers who pay dues, they would lose these and other powers.

“In every state, unions fight for and are glad to have monopoly representation, so it’s sort of crocodile tears when they complain about it,” Semmens told NRO. “The complaint [about “freeloading”] is something they trot out when it comes to right-to-work, but in reality, monopoly bargaining is something they very much favor.”

H/T: WeaselZippers


Leah Barkoukis

Leah Barkoukis is the Managing Editor at Townhall Magazine.

Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography