Unions Claim Non-Union Workers are ‘Freeloaders,’ Myth Busted



-By Warner Todd Huston

In the video where comedian Steven Crowder was attacked by criminal union goons, one of the union gang members said that he was against right-to-work legislation because it allows non-union workers to be “freeloaders” off unions. This claim is, of course, bogus union propaganda.

Lachlan Markay over at The Foundry explains why this claim, one many unionistas employ, is bogus.

The claim that unions make is that even if workers decide not to join the union and pay dues, they are still benefiting from the favorable work conditions and/or pay scale the unions fought hard to get implemented.

Of course, this is not really true. After all, as Markay notes, the actual law says that unions are under no obligation at all to represent their non-member co-workers.

“The National Labor Relations Act does not mandate unions exclusively represent all employees, but permits them to electively do so,” explained Heritage’s James Sherk in a Monday column. ”Under the Act, unions can also negotiate ‘members-only’ contracts that only cover dues-paying members. They do not have to represent other employees.”

The other interesting thing that Markay notes is that the whole “freeloarder” charge seems to assume that unions spend much o it’s hard-earned, dues money on actually representing workers in the work place. But, how much of the union’s money actually gets spent on efforts to represent the workers? Turns out that it is less than one quarter of their dues is spent on negotiating with employers for members.

In fact, less than a quarter (24.1 percent) of expenditures by Michigan’s 25 largest private sector (or public/private hybrid) union locals go toward actually representing workers, according to those unions’ latest LM-2 filings (obtained via the Labor Department’s website – see spreadsheet below for a more detailed breakdown). The rest goes toward other expenditures, including benefits, political activity, and general overhead.

In his own piece, James Sherk asks a pertinent question:

Right-to-work laws prevent unions from imposing mandatory fees, giving employees the right to work without paying union dues. Otherwise, right-to-work has no effect on collective bargaining. All other negotiations continue as before. What’s wrong with that?

It is a good question. What is wrong with that?