The Fundamental Right to Work

I find it preposterous that there is even the slightest debate about the Right to Work legislation that just passed in Michigan [ref].

Actually, I find it incomprehensible that Right to Work laws should even have to exist.

To force workers to belong to a union, or to pay union dues, is absolutely unconstitutional, and a blatant violation of the fundamentals of our Founding. It spits in the face of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”.

The Constitution enumerates powers of the federal and state governments. Nowhere does it empower the government to prop up private organizations, such as unions, by forcing membership and payment of dues. It is absurd and unlawful for the local, state or federal government to assume such power.

The Bill of Rights and subsequent amendments to the Constitution do not specifically list the right to work, probably because the authors couldn’t imagine infringement of such an obvious, basic, fundamental right. Amendment IX does unequivocally state that “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.” The right to work, and to not be forced to join and financially support a private organization, is indisputably one of the rights retained by the people.

A group of employees should be able to band together to negotiate with an employer, to create a “union”. But they should never have the power to compel other employees to join them. And there should be zero laws that support or hinder their unionization, except in cases where there is a legitimate national security interest.

Employers should have the right to fire any employee or group of employees who attempt to unionize. If the employees form a powerful enough constituency, then the employer likely won’t risk disruption to the business by firing them, so negotiations will occur.

The government’s role in all this? To enforce laws that protect life, liberty and pursuit of happiness for individuals. In other words, when the unions bully, threaten, intimidate and harm non-union workers, then the government should act quickly, arresting and granting a speedy trial to the law-breaking union organizers and members that would deny fundamental rights to their fellow citizens.

Obama was right when he said that Right to Work laws aren’t about economics. Of course they aren’t, and they shouldn’t be. They are about fundamental, Constitutional rights that should remain inviolate. I don’t care if every single economist in the world was calling to abolish Right to Work laws. Fundamental rights trump the economy every time.

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