May 26, 2018
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Readers debate role of unions

Corky Pinette | BDN
Corky Pinette | BDN


This week, ClickBack sought editorial page reader comment on the “right-to-work” law that would end mandatory union fee withdrawals from nonmember paychecks in union shops.

Under no circumstances would this law benefit Maine. All this law serves to do is lower wages and erode the safety and health of Maine’s workers while they are on the job. According to the Department of Labor, right to work states had the highest worker fatality rates as well as wages that were 6.5 percent lower on average.

This “race to the bottom” that Gov. LePage is taking Maine on only serves the rich.


This is a thinly veiled attempt to weaken labor rights. If someone doesn’t wish to pay union dues they should get a job at one of the many non-union employment opportunities that are all over this state. There they will enjoy benefits that were fought for by unions.

They won’t have to worry about someone looking out for their interests. The employer will do all that for them. If, on the other hand, they wish to work with employees that are union members and wish the representation of a union and don’t want to pay full union dues, that is also their choice. They can pay half what their fellow employees pay in dues while getting the full benefits that their fellow employees fight for. Leave things as they are.


I would love to see every union gone from the country. There is nothing they do now that can not be done by employees themselves. The unions are a big part of the reason we are in the mess we are in. In their day, they were a good thing but now there are laws protecting workers and no need for unions.


Instead of the Orwellian “right to work,” it should be called, “right to exploit.” The balance of power between capital and labor has been skewed so heavily to the former, leaving taxpayers to shoulder the ever heavier burden of our low wages and inconsequential benefits, that legislation giving even more of an advantage to the employer over employees makes absolutely no sense. It is fiscally irresponsible from an economic development standpoint, as well as morally reprehensible.


What we are talking about is the right for a union you don’t believe in to feed itself from an employee’s pocket whenever it desires. In other words, legal theft.


If a worker is forced to contribute to a union’s activities, why isn’t this person considered a de facto union member? It seems bogus to deduct union fees from a non union worker’s pay and consider him to be a nonunion worker.


This will be a shot in the arm for business development. We need to do all we can to encourage businesses to locate operations here. What little effect the bill might have on labor rights is immaterial to those who are not working.


Labor unions negotiate fair wages, hours and working conditions. This takes time and money, and requires a small fee for the services rendered. This process benefits those under the negotiated contract and no one covered under said contract should be exempt from payment of the services rendered.

The parties sponsoring this law, I believe, are not doing this to benefit workers!

David Carmichael

Those are all nice laws that all employers are required to post on their bulletin boards. Call them out on one of these in a nonunion environment, and see how fast you are escorted out the door!


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