What does the Dayton City Commission have to do with right to work?
By: Mark Luedtke
Right-to-work laws are determined at the state level, not the local level, so it might seem like the Dayton City Commission wasted a bunch of taxpayers’ money a couple of weeks ago when they passed a resolution unanimously opposing any right-to-work and workplace freedom laws in Ohio. But they weren’t just wasting taxpayer money, they were acting against taxpayers’ interest as well.
From a parliamentary point of view, this resolution was meaningless, but the Dayton Daily News hinted at the cynical, political motivations behind the maneuver, “As dozens of local union leaders looked on Wednesday, Dayton City Commission unanimously approved a resolution opposing ‘right to work’ laws and a similar ‘workplace freedom’ constitutional amendment that could come to Ohio ballots in 2014.” Dayton’s rulers used this vote to buy support from local labor chieftains in order – as always – to advance their personal interests at the expense of taxpayers.
Right-to-work laws should be looked at first and foremost through the lens of principle and morality. It is immoral to force people to join a union or to pay dues to a union they don’t want to join against their will. This coercion contradicts America’s highest values. Yet that’s exactly what current unionization laws demand. Right-to-work laws remove this coercion so workers can take jobs at companies with unions without having to join or pay dues to the union. Anybody opposing right to work laws opposes freedom, so the entire Dayton City Commission is on record as opposing freedom.
Every individual has a natural right to freedom of association. That means every individual has a right to negotiate with prospective employers without external interference. Forced unionization laws violate that right. Freedom of association also means people can voluntarily join together into a union to collectively bargain with an employer. Unions are not the problem. Coercion is the problem.
Supporters of coercive unions never debate the morality of their coercion because they can’t win, so they race past principle to debate the economic impact of right-to-work laws. But institutionalized coercion always leads to corruption. In this case, the corruption takes the form of lying about the economic consequences of right to work. The Dayton Daily News reported, “‘Right to Work’ is part of this ideology that’s trying to move wealth from the middle class and move it back up,” City Commissioner Matt Joseph said. “It’s ridiculous. It’s a cynical, political ploy to try to make rich people richer.” Apparently the irony of a guy who just made a cynical, political vote to advance his personal interests calling right-to-work a cynical, political ploy is lost on Joseph.
He’s also wrong about the economics. States with right-to-work laws tend to grow. States without them tend to shrink. This is what any rational person would expect. People prefer to have freedom to join or not join unions, so they tend to migrate to states with right-to-work laws. Like all Big Lies though, one of Joseph’s points is true: rich people get richer in right-to-work states. What Joseph doesn’t say is that workers also get richer in right-to-work states. Everybody wins in right-to-work states.
In forced unionization states, everybody loses. Private sector unionization rates in the U.S. have rapidly declined over decades. That’s because businesses with unionized labor tend to go bankrupt.
Unions put companies and their employees out of business. Unions aren’t just bad for business, they’re bad for workers.
It used to be that Ohioans weren’t worried about right-to-work laws because no neighboring states had them. That was a mistake. During the 2000’s, Ohio lost 614,000 private sector jobs, mostly to right-to-work states in the South. Ohio and Dayton graduates still leave the state at a tremendous rate to benefit from working in better economies in right-to-work states.
But Indiana recently passed a right to work law that is reportedly already improving lives for Indiana workers.
“Officials at 20 companies have said Indiana’s passage of a right-to-work law earlier this year was a factor in their decisions to bring more jobs to the state, according to Daniel Hasler, who leads the Indiana Economic Development Corporation.” And while wages might be higher currently in forced unionization states, it won’t last because wage growth is faster in right to work states.
Now the pressure is on the Ohio legislature to advance right to work, but unions have bottled these bills up so the commission vote meant nothing to that effort either. The Dayton Daily News offered one final hint to the ultimate motivation behind this vote, “Representatives of local police, fire, teachers and building trades unions, as well as the broader IUE-CWA, thanked City Commissioner Nan Whaley for her leadership on the issue.” There is no right-to-work issue in the Dayton City Commission. Perhaps this is about Nan Whaley’s desire to be mayor? Talk about cynical, political and self-serving. And taxpayers paid for all of it.
The views and opinions expressed in Conspiracy Theorist are the views and/or opinions of the author and do not reflect the views and/or opinions of the Dayton City Paper or Dayton City Media and are published strictly for entertainment purposes only.
Mark Luedtke is an electrical engineer with a degree from the University of Cincinnati and currently works for a Dayton attorney. He can be reached at MarkLuedtke@DaytonCityPaper.com.