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Home Publications Blogs Beat the Press Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels Wants to Tax Workers Who Support Unions

Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels Wants to Tax Workers Who Support Unions

Monday, 02 January 2012 22:04

The NYT reports that Indiana governor Mitch Daniels is pushing legislation that will require workers who support a union to pay extra money to support the cost of representing workers who don't want to pay for their representation. Under federal labor law, a union is required to represent all the workers in a bargaining unit, whether they opt to join the union or not. This means not only that all workers will receive the full pay and benefits negotiated by the union, but also that the union is required to represent workers who face any sort of disciplinary action.

Since the union is legally obligated to represent all workers in the bargaining unit, in most states workers are able to sign agreements with management that require all workers to pay for this representation. However, some states infringe on workers' freedom of contract and prohibit such agreements with management. These states require the workers who join a union to pay for the representation of workers who opt not to join.

This restriction on the freedom on contract, which passes under the euphemism "right to work" is being pushed by Indiana governor Mitch Daniels. According to the article, it is likely to be approved by Indiana's Republican legislature.

It would have been helpful if this piece had made a point of noting that this legislation requires workers who support a union to pay for the benefits received by the workers who opt not to join. It is also important to note that no one is ever required to join or pay for a union they don't like. As every libertarian knows, a person who doesn't like unions is completely free to work for an employer where workers are not represented by a union.

Comments (3)Add Comment
nice try
written by pete, January 03, 2012 3:04
As a worker, I may be highly productive, in a non-monopsonistic area, and really in no need of a union. My freedom to contract may be precious to me, and I choose not to join the union, and not pay the union fees. Why is forcing me to pay the fee not a violation of my freedom to contract? I think you have this one bass akwards....hmmm...is this due to the funding of CEPR...I can't help but wonder...how else could you twist this around.

The contract that is restricted is one where management and the union collude to take my money. Since that is like a tax, and I do not get to vote in the union, that is essentially taxation without representation. Ask D.C. about that.
written by Union Member, January 03, 2012 5:44
I really miss Izzatzo
written by TVeblen, January 06, 2012 9:21
I'm not the biggest fan of our union leadership - they could be more imaginative, communicative (especially to the public), and looking out to educate new members. But this malaise is part of a much broader social demobilization that is generational. There is little fight left in union members until they're faced with a Scott Walker. Rulers like Cuomo and Christy have likely learned that lesson and are going to be a lot more suave once they've waxed the killing floor. I hope we awake before that day.

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About Beat the Press

Dean Baker is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. He is the author of several books, his latest being The End of Loser Liberalism: Making Markets Progressive. Read more about Dean.