For Immediate Release
Tuesday, June 2, 2015
Director of Marketing and Communications
MIDLAND —A new concept called Worker’s Choice allows workers to represent themselves and fully opt-out of union representation. It also frees unions from representing workers that do not want to pay them.
Before right-to-work, unions could get employees fired for not financially supporting the union.
However, almost all unions still maintain exclusive representation of workers in a bargaining unit. Even with right-to-work, individual workers represented by a union still may not negotiate pay, benefits and working conditions on their own behalf. Unions too, must still represent and negotiate for these workers regardless of whether the worker is paying the union.
A new study by the Mackinac Center aims to change that.
“This is fair for everyone,” said F. Vincent Vernuccio, author of the new Mackinac Center study "Worker’s Choice: Freeing Unions and Workers from Forced Representation." “With Worker’s Choice, unions can say ‘good-bye’ to workers who don’t want to pay them and workers can say ‘no thanks’ to the union’s representation.”
Unions lobbied for and were granted exclusive representation, meaning workers in the bargaining unit must accept representation by the union and may not represent themselves by law.
Supporters of forced representation claim those who aren’t paying the union are getting something for nothing, calling them “free-riders.” However, these employees are really “forced-riders” in that they are banned from representing themselves despite their decision to not join the union.
Worker’s Choice gives public sector employees the choice of two options:
- Be a union member and accept the working conditions negotiated by the union;
- Opt out of union membership and negotiate for compensation and working conditions independently.
Worker’s Choice allows each worker to negotiate the best deal for them. It allows the freedom to negotiate the terms of their salary, benefits and working conditions independently rather than simply getting what is negotiated for the entire unit.
“If an employee values more time off than a higher salary, they could negotiate that into their agreement,” said Vernuccio. “They could also negotiate a higher salary with less time off. This gives each worker the freedom to do what’s best for him or her rather than force all workers to accept the same agreement that may not be beneficial to them.”
The full study can be found online here: https://www.mackinac.org/archives/2015/s2015-03.pdf