Opinion and Viewpoint

BEGO: The godsend of right-to-work is freedom

January 7, 2012

BegoAs the 2012 General Assembly convenes, January will represent a tipping point for all Hoosiers’ individual freedoms, as politicians and big labor bosses are drawing battle lines to determine if Indiana will become the 23rd right-to-work state.

Common sense tells us such a battle is counterintuitive, as right-to-work ensures that every employee has freedom of choice against compulsory unionism and the right to one’s own property—his or her labor.

Under right-to-work, an employee would not be compelled to join a union. Additionally, security clauses or closed shops that require every employee to be a union member and check-off clauses requiring a company or government entity to collect union dues would be eliminated from collective bargaining agreements.

These punitive clauses basically guarantee union contracts for life, thus eliminating incentive to provide members viable products or services. Other than decertification, employees have no options or recourse and must belong to the union and pay dues, thereby perpetuating forced unionism, which is the reason big labor and its political allies are against right-to-work.

Unfortunately, a second form of forced unionism exists, which sets the table for the perpetual forced-unionism model. As chronicled in my new book, “The Devil at Our Doorstep,” unions use vicious corporate campaigns to force-unionize employees by pressuring employers to capitulate and sign a so-called neutrality agreement, the genesis of card check.

This agreement eliminates an employee’s right to a secret ballot election and requires employers to provide information on all employees, including home addresses, to union organizers. Union organizers then use unscrupulous tactics, unmonitored by any government agency, to intimidate or otherwise force a bare majority of employees to sign union cards, at which time the employer is automatically unionized. The scheme is fraught with abuse, intimidation, improprieties and misinformation.

Despite historical claims of “protecting the middle class,” unions have essentially created an unsustainable system in both the private and public sectors, ultimately destroying the middle class they purport to support. The American auto and steel industries are prime examples of unions’ destruction of viable industries. Consequently, we have seen a historical decline in the number of middle-class jobs in the auto and steel industries as well as the current threats facing public-sector employees.

Despite all this, big labor would have you believe they have an altruistic mission to provide people the right to be represented in the workplace. If unions were so concerned about people’s rights, you would think they would be in favor of right-to-work, allowing each employee freedom of choice.

However, unions are nearly extinct and desperately need membership dues to elect sympathetic politicians who, in turn, will pass laws or appoint bureaucrats that will use regulatory power to further big labor’s agenda. If unions are willing to force-unionize people, they will likely use the same tactics to keep them unionized, assuring their own survival at the expense of the economy, jobs and freedom of choice.

Ultimately, right-to-work is an issue of the right to private property, one’s labor, which we as Hoosiers expect both sides of the aisle at the Statehouse to honor and defend. The right of private property is a triumph of Western civilization, and the associated freedoms that come with it have proven to be extremely rewarding for those working hard to achieve the American dream.

Our founding fathers designed a marvelous system that guarantees social and economic justice by establishing individual responsibility. It is time for all Hoosiers to hold elected officials accountable to protect our individual freedoms and pass right-to-work!•

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Bego is president and CEO of Executive Management Services Inc., a commercial cleaning, facility maintenance and management company in Indianapolis.

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