Right to work does not take away the right to organize. Why do we assume that the employee has to pay the union for this? Maybe the employees could bid out collective bargaining services and hire a firm to negotiate a contract for them. Not sure how this is freeriding when they only have one choice. Maybe they are protesting instead of freeriding?So as to not suggest that the almighty $$$ is the only thing a union is concerned with, I remind you there are literally hundreds of working conditions spelled out in a labor agreement. And remember, a contract of any kind WORKS BOTH WAYS. It’s an agreement negotiated by 2 parties that defines the rights AND the responsibilities of EACH. Both the company AND the workers. And in the case of labor contracts, it is always the practice that all rights and decisions that are not stipulated in the agreement are the discretion of management.
Without exception, all those “work rules” contained in union contracts, have come about as the result of a past disregard for the working conditions of the workers. If workers are satisfied with the terms of their employment and believe it is equitable, there is no need to write language addressing it.
As an example off the top of my head; we once had a common practice of notifying employees on very short notice, that we would be working on Saturday. Because of some ‘unforeseen circumstance” the supervisor could come to you at 2 PM on Friday afternoon and inform you the line would be running tomorrow and you WILL be here. No concern that you may have planned to take the kids camping for the weekend or that one of them had a Saturday morning football game. This was never an everyweek occurrence but it happened way too often. Furthermore, when you got there on Saturday morning, you would often find there was only enough material available to work a couple hours and were then sent home! Made the employees really happy and willing to go the extra mile for the company!
We raised the issue in negotiations (that’s referred to as a “union demand” ). Long story short, the company insisted they needed the flexibility to respond to “short-notice production needs”. We dropped it.
For the next three years (3-year contract) the practice continued and the next negotiations it was a higher priority issue. Again, the company dug in their heels on the right to schedule production as they saw fit, but at the eleventh hour, we did get a letter of agreement pledging that they would “endeavor” to plan further ahead and minimize these last minute notifications. (I have not forgotten that ratification meeting! Not popular with the rank & file! )
The situation did improve a little but was still an issue. We processed a number of grievances during the contract period ... basically just to document the problem, as the “pledge” letter was weak and not binding. At the NEXT negotiations, we were successful in getting resolution that notification of weekend overtime must be given by the preceding Wednesday and that the overtime would first be offered as voluntary to the most senior qualified employee and go down the list until they filled the need. If they got to the bottom of the seniority list and still needed more people, they could start back up the list and assign it as mandatory.
There were further restrictions on mandatory weekend overtime but, guess what??? Once the language was in the contract, the issue went away! Supervisors discovered they could easily avoid the problem by doing their job and properly planning ahead. Rarely was there any Saturday production after that ... (wonder how much that saved the company in overtime pay because the managers involved, had to start doing their job). And when there WAS an unforeseen need, there was never any problem getting enough qualified workers to volunteer. It has never been a hindrance to the company and employees can plan a family weekend just like anyone else.
And this is one single, simple benefit that the freerider gets right along with the rest of the members. There are hundreds.