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Right-to-work law is seriously flawed

The question arises after recent events in Michigan. The House and Senate are Republican controlled. They, in a lame-duck session, voted affirmatively on “right-to-work” legislation. It might be said it was their right, they were elected, it’s the democratic way. Not so. The bill was not given proper time for input and debate, voted on prior to next session, knowing that next session this bill likely would not pass as Republicans were being replaced by Democrats.

The bill allows all workers in union shops the right to “choose” to belong to the union. Sounds good. But this would only work if the employees who “choose” not to join the union would then not enjoy the benefits that the union had fought for, negotiated and won for all employees. The “chosen” non-members then should have to negotiate their own wages, benefits, safety protections and disciplinary procedures, hopefully then understanding the benefits of joining the union instead of merely reaping the benefits.

Unfortunately that is not how it works. My 30 years of experience as a federal sector local union president where the right-to-work situation exists shows that much of my work (as required by law) was done for employees who “chose” not to join. The first place they called when an issue or proposed discipline arose was the union office. This bill encourages freeloading. If the “chosen” non-members addressed the many facets the union does, then the legislation would at least be fairer. Now it only decreases wages, puts more power in the hands of management and diminishes workplace safety.

Let’s make sure that New York legislators are on notice that this law is detrimental to working families and will not be tolerated.

Ann Converso, R.N.

CWA HCCC Political/ Legislative Coordinator