COLUMN: Letter supporting right to work inaccurate

-A A +A

By DALE GROVES, Guest Columnist

I always respect an opinion on a controversial issue that might be different from my own opinion, even the current right-to-work bill currently being debated in the Indiana General Assembly. And I know that those who support right-to-work and those who don’t have different fact sheets, different polls and different motives for wanting this bill passed or wanting it defeated.

However, when a writer makes blatant false statements on this, or any other issue, the public and the writer need to hear the facts. I am referring to the letter to the editor concerning right-to-work penned by Jim Adkins in The Perry County News.

Mr. Adkins is correct when the states that our state is considering right-to-work legislation and that it would be the first state to pass such a law since Oklahoma in 2001. However his facts just don’t add up after that.

He states that non right-to-work states “require workers at a place of employment to join a union and pay their dues if 51 percent of the workers at that place vote to have a union even if the other 49 percent of the workers don’t want a union.” This is false.

FACT: No worker in any non right-to-work state is compelled to join a union or be a union member. However, they can be required to pay an agency fee for their “fair share” of representation if and only if the employer and the union agree to a union security clause in the contract. The employer must agree to this.

He went on to state that “union bosses spend much of that money supporting leftist political agendas like Barrack Obama’s.” False.

FACT: Unions are prohibited by federal law from using any of their dues money on federal candidates or their political action committees. The only contributions that unions are allowed are Voluntary contributions given by members that voluntarily donate dollars.

Then he went on and stated that union campaign contributions dwarf all business or industrial contributions. False.

FACT: The broadest classification of political donors separates them into business, labor or ideological interests. Whatever slice you look at, business interests dominate, with an overall advantage over organized labor of about 15-to-1. This is from Opensecrects.com, a respected watchdog of political contributions.

Mr. Adkins went on to state that if our Hoosier state becomes a right-to-work state, members of the union can still go on strike, but they cannot prevent non-union members from working and that the union can still negotiate contacts for their members, but they cannot bind employees who do not belong to the union. False.

FACT: Just the opposite is true. If we become a RTW state, then the union is obligated to negotiate for all of the workers, including those who do not pay dues. And these nonpaying workers are entitled to all of the benefits negotiated by the union and they pay nothing. The union must represent these nonpaying workers in any grievance procedure or any contractual dispute and can even be sued by these non paying members if they believe the union did not do a good job representing them.

Right-to-work has nothing to do with a “right to work.” It has everything to do with busting unions, keeping corporate power intact and eliminating the only organization in America that stands up for workers and the middle class.

Groves lives in Tell City.