October 30, 2012
By: Florida Public Employees
The following letter was sent in response to Senator Marco Rubio’s co-sponsoring of Bill S. 2173 – National Right-to-Work Bill.
|From: Ms. Penni EggersOctober 24, 2012The Honorable Marco Rubio
314 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510Dear Senator:
I am writing in reference to Senate bill S. 2173 National Right-to-Work Bill and respectfully requesting you to oppose this bill. As a public employee of the fire service for over 15 years, a union member of Local 2327, Dunedin Firefighters Association and former Union President, I have seen firsthand the demoralizing and detrimental effects a “right to work” state has had on its public employees and to the middle class.
“Right to Work” Laws are fundamentally unfair and are not necessarily to protect nonunion members. The Taft-Hartley Act of 1947 protects nonunion members from forcibly joining unions if they so choose. However, in States that have passed “Right to Work” laws, unions are required to bargain collectively for all employees whether or not they are union members and bear the entire burden of negations. This is unfair to allow nonunion employees in a unionized workplace to receive the benefits of union representation, in terms of job protections, wages, and benefits, without contributing for any of the costs. There have been several Supreme Court cases on this point such as NLRB vs. General Motors in 1963, and the Communication Workers vs. Beck decision of 1988 were the Supreme Court agreed that nonunion members should be responsible for the cost of representation on wages and benefits. However, objecting union members or nonunion members who wish to withhold that portion of their compulsory union dues that the union spends on any political activities may choose do so.
“Right to Work” Laws not only affect union members, they affect the whole middle class in general. Several economic studies have shown in non-right to work states the median salary is as much as 14% higher than in right to work states. Unions have historically helped the middle class by negotiating fair wages and benefits for a fair day’s work, instituted safe working conditions, sick leave, 40-hour workweeks, and vacation time. These efforts have benefited all working Americans and not just union employees.
I respectfully make this observation that the National Right Work Bill is a tool to weaken and destroy existing unions. States that have “Right to Work” laws find union participation is down significantly compared to non-right to work states. These laws are only there to support businesses and not the middle class. For these reasons, as a native Floridian, a third generation union member, a registered voter, and concerned citizen, I once again respectfully request you vote no on S. 2173.
So is Bill S. 2173, as Penni claims “a tool to weaken and destroy existing unions”?
One has to wonder.
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