New York, NY – Republicans continue to push for a “right-to-work” USA providing a workforce where employees work for less. The open shop and non-union workplace is a route to low wages for workers. There is consistent research that documents strong unions negotiate better wages and benefits. Those without union representation have no mechanism for salary increases.
In spite of this reality, the U.S. is quickly becoming an open-shop country. A majority of states now have “right-to-work” laws, and the Supreme Court’s decision in Janus v. AFSCME is likely to make right to work the law of the land for municipal unions.
In a right-to-work setting, workers have the option to be free riders and not pay union dues. Although unfair, in New York and across the countrey, these non-members still receive many union benefits without paying their fair share.
In the public sector, certain states now allow some form of “members-only unions.” Florida allows public sector unions to not represent non-members in grievances. The same is true for teacher unions in Tennessee. With the Janis decision expected shortly, local laws are needed to eliminate free riders from receiving union benefits.
This past April, New York State passed a law which includes a provision that public sector unions no longer have to provide representation to non-members in disciplinary hearings, grievances, or arbitrations. The NYS bill is designed to have members continue to pay dues even though membership fees will no longer be required under the janis decision. Similar laws need to be sponsored in local comminities across the country. This legislation will deter attempts to weaken unions.