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Compulsory 'Free' Speech


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compulsory-free-speechAmerican Spectator:

What is free speech? Is it the right to speak out and give money to causes, politicians and push ideas? Is it the ability to keep silent and not support that with which a person disagrees? Or is it the power of a group to force its individual members to fund political causes and candidates they do not support?

On April 9, attorneys for the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150 (IUOE) argued that Indiana's Right to Work Law infringes on their free speech rights because -- get this -- it deprives them of the dues mandated from workers by "agency shop" provisions.

Earlier this year Indiana became the 23rd state in the nation to give workers right to work protections. Right to work laws allow employees at unionized worksites to keep their job without having to pay dues to a union. If individual employees like what the union is doing, they are still free to pay dues, but these contributions are purely voluntary.

This is a problem for IUOE because if workers are no longer required to pay, the union could lose the funds necessary to curry favor with politicians, through campaign contributions, and advocate for pro-union policies. IUOE argues in its 45-page brief:

In this case, the state of Indiana restricted a channel of speech-supporting finance … The Union legitimately utilizes dues money collected through the agency shop provisions in its collective bargaining agreements, in part, to finance political speech. The Indiana Right to Work law prohibits agency shop agreements, and that prohibition restricts a channel through which speech-supporting finance might flow.

Many union members disagree with their union leadership's political giving and activism, but if they work in one of the 27 states without right to work protections, they are forced to support an agenda with which they disagree, or lose their jobs. In most election cycles, around 40 percent of union members vote Republican, but only around 3 percent of union political giving goes to the GOP.Scissors-32x32.png

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I guess I have lived a somewhat sheltered (and blessed) life since I have never lived in a state or worked in a job that required me to pay union dues. The concept is disgusting.

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