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The Battle between unions and state governments

Updated on April 22, 2012

In these times we as individuals have come to enjoy the freedoms we have over our lives and the lives of our families. Requiring individuals to do something often meets with some resistance while at other times it is acceptable dependent upon the subject it addresses. The freedoms we have today as granted to us by the Constitution represents who we are as individuals and as a country. The current laws on the books today in many states gives individuals some choices in where they want to work while in other cases the choice is limited. The issue that separates available choices is the battle over right to work states and those that do not offer this flexibility.

Right to work states offer flexibility for individuals and organizations to hire without involvement of unions in the process. Statistics found on the Internet regarding right to work states indicate they have better economies and lower unemployment than those that do not have such laws in place. A requirement which forces us into situations which is not of our choosing seems to be coming more prevalent today and the issue of requirements to join a union is no different. I am not against unions and this article does not mean to imply such a position but individuals should have a right to join a union or not and it should not be a condition of employment. First unions are a great organization if they are managed properly and are there for their members when issues surface. In some states there are requirements that unions must represent all employees in issues whether or not they are members. The key for unions is to present the positive aspects of joining unions not forcing individuals to become members.

Currently union membership in this country is down greatly from where it was in the past and as a result the leverage unions have is reduced today but they should never become extinct. Unions today have many issues as evidenced in battles in several states such as right to work and non-right to work states along with reduced power of unions by legislative actions as in Wisconsin. The decision to be made by the citizens of Wisconsin in the battle to recall Governor Scott Walker will have an impact on whether unions will lose influence or gain it with regards to legislative actions. While there have been some negative impacts there are also positive ones such as an improving financial outlook such as in Wisconsin. This benefits all citizens wherever they reside.

The current healthcare legislation which is being reviewed by the Supreme Court will is another example of forcing individuals and organizations to do something. The Supreme Court will basically decide critical issues. One is whether the government can force us to purchase health insurance against our will and the other is whether the government has the authority to determine what will be included in health insurance policies.

There is much legislation passed by Congress and other state legislatures and many have valid requirements addressing such items as food safety, work safety and homeland security issues. When governments decide to make decisions for us it is taking away some of the privileges we have come to enjoy. Unions do not necessarily take away these privileges when they require employees to join them but it limits the choices we have. In these situations we must decide whether we really want to work for an organization in which a requirement exists to join a union. The requirement may not come from an organization but the union chosen by employees to represent them.

The last point to make is whether we should have the right to make our own decisions for anything or let others make the decisions. Government and unions today seem increasingly to take the approach that they know what is best for us rather than letting us make our decisions. These actions do not appear to be limited by topic. There are many individuals who highly support unions and their actions while others feel unions have gone too far in actions unions or their supporters are taking or have taken. Unions look out for their members and this is a good thing but sometimes unions in an effort to support their members and attract new ones forget the big picture. The economic times we are in today require changes to be made and this involves unions as well. Individuals who are inclined to support unions will lean toward joining one when the opportunity surfaces. The methods or involvement of present unions also has a negative side as those who are against the methods unions are using today will lean to never want to join a union.


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    • Dennis AuBuchon profile image

      Dennis AuBuchon 5 years ago

      Thanks for stopping by and providing your comments. I always appreciate what anyone has to say on any of my hubs and yours is no different.

      Thanks again

    • J Elaine profile image

      J Elaine 5 years ago from Northern Minnesota

      I think you give unions far too much credit. They served a purpose at one time, but now all employees are protected by laws that have been passed. Unfortunately the good that they've done has been tainted by a an unsavory component.

      At one point in their history unions were primarily used to force companies not to hire blacks and other minorities. The violent tactics and thuggery they continue to use is inexcusable.

      Unions don't fight fair because they know they can't win in a fair fight. They see their numbers dwindling and are backed into a corner. That's why they are spending millions of dollars in WI and other states who are finally standing up to them. Governor Scott Walker is a true hero with the backbone to do what's right for his state and not back down to these union thugs.