National Employee Freedom Week, which endeavors to educate workers on their right to opt-out of unionization and about other employee freedoms, kicks off this Sunday, August 14. This year, National Employee Freedom Week is supported by a coalition of 102 groups across 42 states and lasts from August 14 through August 20.
National Employee Freedom Week is a critical tool to educate workers about their individual rights in the workplace. Far too often, employees feel coerced to join a union and aren’t informed that they have a choice in the matter. Thus, this is a week dedicated to empowering employees with the information they need to make their own decisions about unionization in the workplace and inform them of the alternative options at their disposal.
According to National Employee Freedom Week’s 2016 survey, more than two-thirds of union households believe workers should be able to negotiate directly with their employer and completely opt-out of union dues or agency fees. And almost 30 percent of respondents said they would opt-out of union membership if it were possible to do so without penalties. However, many American workers don’t realize they have a choice – and don’t understand their rights. That’s why the work undertaken by National Employee Freedom Week leadership is so important.
Few American workers want to be shackled by the confines of a union and its leadership. That’s why nationally and for many years, union membership has been on the decline. Organized labor remains an outdated vestige of a time when stronger labor laws were needed to protect against widespread workplace abuse. But today, union bosses are selling a product few need, or want, anymore. Our current labor laws are more than adequate to prevent workplace abuse, and collective, one-size-fits-all contracts negotiated en masse are out of touch with the realities of the modern workplace where employees want a more cooperative relationship with their employer, and employer and employee contacts are more frequent and open. Union bosses know their dues are at risk, and that’s why they’ve fought so ferociously against autonomous contract negotiations and go to great lengths to hinder free speech between an employer and their employee.
Workers are frustrated that Big Labor no longer seems to be looking out for them and unions spend millions to promote political candidates that do not represent their views. They’re resentful when they read the headlines of the discrepancies between the salaries of union bosses compared to rank-and-file members. And they’re tired of seeing the rampant misuse of union funds.
Thankfully today, workers have options. For example, instead of joining a collective bargaining unit, employees could consider joining a professional association that provides greater benefits and professional development opportunities – a much more attractive alternative to forking over as much as $1,000 per year in forced dues.
Workers have the power to choose. That’s why, this year’s National Employee Freedom Week aims to provide workers with the educational tools to ensure they have all the facts and information needed to make an informed decision. For individuals who don’t live in one of the 26 right-to-work states around the country, employees can opt to become agency fee payers and pay only for the non-political components of union membership, or try to qualify as a religious or conscientious objector. And www.employeefreedomweek.com provides a state-by-state breakdown of options and a blueprint for opting out.
No one should have to pay union dues to keep their job. It’s time to stand up against Big Labor’s intimidation and bullying tactics that coerce workers into a union, and it’s time to give employees back their voice. Join us in getting the facts out this National Employee Freedom Week, and celebrating employee freedom and empowerment everywhere.