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By TIMOTHY BRUMFIELD, Guest Columnist
This letter is in reply to Dave Hammond’s letter in Monday’s edition of The News. I would like for it to be known that I have known Dave for 30-plus years and have always had a lot of respect for him.
However, there is more than one side to the right-to-work issue and everyone should get to hear all sides. First of all, there are laws already in place under the Federal Labor Relations Act that prevent an individual from being required to join a union as a condition of employment before or even after his or her hiring.
The difference is that if anyone decides not to join the union, then they do not get to reap the same benefits that the dues-paying members receive, such as collective bargaining powers, negotiated raises and pensions.
The truth about the new right-to-work bill is that it will force the union to represent everyone, whether they are a member of the union or not. If this is the case, then why would anyone pay dues? Its design is to eventually break the unions. It is purposely misnamed and the proper name should be the right-to-freeload bill. It would be no different than hiring a plumber to come to your house, work on your plumbing, then stiff him on the bill. How long would a plumber stay in business if he wasn’t getting paid? Not long, I’m sure.
Many of you say, “So what? I’m not in a union, anyway.”
Well, how many of you enjoy the higher-than-minimum wage that you receive now? How about your weekends off? What about your retirement plans and your insurance? Do you think that the companies you work for give these benefits to you out of the kindness of their hearts? No. All companies are in business to make money. That’s why they opened.
The fact is that the more money you make and the more benefits you receive, the less money they are making. But, with the help of other companies being unionized, they have to pay you those amounts to keep you from leaving to go work in a place with better conditions, better pay and better benefits. So basically, even if you work in a place that is not union, you still get benefits from the union. If right-to-work passes in Indiana, then obviously much of that will be lost.
As for the statistics quoted from the National Institute for Labor Relations, this “institute” is actually an arm of the National Right-To-Work Committee, which happens to be a very well-funded, special-interest, anti-union organization based in Virginia. Further, many people have raised serious questions and doubts about their research methods. Also, there are many reports available that completely contradict the NILR.
Some Web sites you can join that keep you up to date on the latest news and changes are signon.org; moveon.org; talkingunion.com and, of course, the Web site for the Indiana State AFL/CIO. (When the News checked Monday morning, the talkingunion.com site didn't work.)
I recommend everyone go to these Web sites and view all of the facts if they care at all about their future employment and the future of their childrens’ employment. Also, the rallies at the statehouse in Indianapolis began Wednesday and will continue as long as this bill is on the table.
Everyone is encouraged to join and I believe things are going to get very heated up there.
Brumfield is the Tell City Business Agent for Local 374, International Brotherhood of Boilermakers.