Arbor Update

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The Right to Work (for Less)

21. July 2004 • Ari Paul
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UAW President Ron Gettelfinger debunks the myths of the National Right to Work campaign:

For an organization that claims to defend the rights of individuals, National Right to Work is surprisingly unconcerned about employer abuse of pro-union workers. National Right to Work fails to point out that without a union contract, American workers are employees-at-will who can be fired at any time for any reason—or for no reason at all.

The only right National Right to Work is interested in defending is the right not to join a union. The group is trying to convince the labor board to make it easier for a minority of union opponents to overturn the results of successful card check elections.



  1. Talk about an over simplification by UAW president…. “Overturn the results of successful card check elections.”

    The problem with these card check “elections” is simple and well documented. Yes, over 50% of employees at a given company may over some period of time fill out and carry a “card” in favor of creating a union, but this does not mean that 50% of the employees actually want a union.

    There are many documented cases of people being threatened or cohersed to publicly sign up. As who signs up and who doesn’t sign up is public information. All NRTW wants to do, is have normal ballot elections, where people’s votes are secret, just like our presidential elections.

    There is nothing “unamerican” about opposing card check elections and supporting ballot elections. So the NRTW organization IS DEFENDING THE RIGHTS OF INDIVIDUALS WHO WANT TO BE ABLE TO VOTE FOR OR AGAINST A UNION AS THEY PLEASE WITHOUT FACING THREATS OR OTHER FORMS OF HARASSMENT.

    (FYI: Yes, National Right to Work is pro-RTW. Right to Work laws simply state that no person can, as a condition of employment, be forced to join a union or pay union dues.
       —Right To Work Expert    Jul. 21 '04 - 07:57PM    #
  2. This confuses me:

    "Yes, over 50% of employees at a given company may over some period of time fill out and carry a “card” in favor of creating a union, but this does not mean that 50% of the employees actually want a union."
       —Mark    Jul. 21 '04 - 08:36PM    #
  3. Two things: One, the whining about intimidation etc. against anti-unioners is bullshit compared to the massive amount of anti-union intimidation done by employers. How many folks who didn’t sign the union card have had their heads busted compared to the ones that have? While I realize the tu quoque in that, it’s a much less real phenomenon than anti-union intimidation.
    Second, people who work in union shops get union benefits whether or not their in the union. So when they don’t want to pay dues, they want something for nothing. Fuck that, especially when people are risking careers (and sometimes lives) to unionize.
    “Right to work” is a misnomer, a malaprop of plutocrat propoganda.
    js
       —js    Jul. 22 '04 - 11:44AM    #
  4. Regarding this statement (from the 3rd poster): “How many folks who didn’t sign the union card have had their heads busted compared to the ones that have?”

    Thank you for making the national right to work’s point for them. THEY WANT BALLOT ELECTIONS SO NO ONE, WHETHER THEY BE PRO OR ANTI UNION FACE HARASMENT FOR VOTING IN FAVOR/AGAINST A UNION…. THAT’S WHAT BALLOT ELECTIONS AS OPPOSED TO HAVING CHECK CARD ELECTIONS ACCOMPLISH….

    So explain…. what’s wrong with ballot elections as opposed to “union card” elections? NOTHING! THEY’RE ACTUALLY DOING GOOD!
       —Right To Work Expert    Jul. 22 '04 - 07:27PM    #
  5. Thank you for protecting my Right to Work for low wages, no benefits, no grievance procedure, no rights and the constant threat of being fired because my boss got out on the wrong side of the bed. WHAT A CAUSE! WHAT A MOVEMENT!
       —greedkills    Jul. 24 '04 - 01:04AM    #
  6. Typical “liberal behavior”... ignore my question, dodge the issue, and just try to scare people. How mature. Aren’t you smart.
       —Right To Work Expert    Jul. 24 '04 - 12:55PM    #
  7. everyone who knows about fair elections knows that the 1 – 3 months after filing for an election and getting the election, the employer “beats up” on workers. Where is the fairness in that?
       —Mark    Nov. 2 '04 - 09:43AM    #
  8. I actually agree that, in a perfect world, card checks are a pretty poor way to measure whether a majority of workers at a particular job location desire representation of a particular union. That said, we’re living in a very imperfect world that is almost always in the employers’ favor. If we had solid protections for minority unions in a workplace; actual enforcement of existing labor law with real punishments doled out to violating employers; and unbound the hands of unionized workers to support each other in their struggles legally (e.g., repeal Taft-Hartley), we’d be getting somewhere. But until there’s some balance, both in the laws on the books and in enforcement, card-check elections are good enough for me.
       —Scott T.    Nov. 2 '04 - 10:38AM    #