In light of the Michigan right-to-work law that recently passed, which I hope they can overturn at the ballot box, I got to thinking about the messaging of right-to-work. It is clear that the name 'right-to-work' gives the anti-union rights bunch an advantage. I am curious to get some feedback about one way I thought of to fight these laws: push the federal government to change the law concerning the "duty of fair representation."
Simply put, the DFR requires that, as the exclusive representation for the bargaining unit, all unit members must be represented fairly and without discrimination based on a number of things, one being union status. It seems to me that changing this would be a winner for unions in right-to-work states.
I think the discussion of whether other workers should pay to represent, bargain for, and protect workers who are not a member of their organization or pay anything for those services is an argument we can win. It also serves as a great educational tool in getting people to see what 'right-to-work' laws are all about. And if passed, it would really help in dues compliance in right-to-work states and to weaken the push for right-to-work.
When you think about it, the argument is easy to understand and I think the vast majority of people will be on our side. You can join the union. Not joining but paying the fair share to get the benefits is fine too. But you can't not want to be a member, not want to pay anything but want to make fellow workers pay for you to receive every benefit they do. It is only reasonable.
I think this argument could work anywhere in the country. The country is evenly split on 'right-to-work' because, I think, many don't understand what it is. I don't think this would be evenly split in any way. This would be a great issue to weaken 'right-to-work' laws and the push to attain them. Unions can't just play defense forever. I think this would be a great counter-offensive.
I'm no expert, so I would love to hear everybody's comments on what they think.