Right to work laws.
Debate Rounds (4)
1) It does not go against any law in the United States. So you cannot refute the law legally. The Taft-Hartley Act of 1947: Nothing in this Act shall be construed as authorizing the execution or application of agreements requiring membership in a labor organization as a condition of employment in any State or Territory in which such execution or application is prohibited by State or Territorial law.
2) Requiring unions to attract voluntary members (as opposed to forcing them to join) is a great way to insure that unions will act in the best interests of the workers. They can no longer take their membership force for granted and must actually satisfy their workers, or they will dissolve.
3) Union contracts that require membership upon employment may be regarded as a breach of civil rights. Americans should not be forced to join a union that forces them to pay monthly dues in order to work. In many places, you can't even become a teacher without first joining the union.
4) States that have right to work laws (mainly in the south and west) subsequently have fewer teachers' unions. As a result, property taxes in southern states are roughly half that of property taxes in the northern states. Because the northern states don't have right to work laws, teachers' unions exponentially increase the cost of education, thus, school tax is increased (school tax is taken out of your property tax).
5) Unions are a business, no two ways about that. And under federal law, members of unions cannot negotiate on their own behalf. Only the union can do that. Nor can members seek personal representation from another union or agency. This creates a representation monopoly in unions causing them to be less considerate and accountable to its members. This may mean that unions will provide fewer services and offer minimal care for its workers. However, under right to work laws, unions are more compliant and actually care more about the situation of their workers. If workers are not satisfied with union treatment, they can simply quit and work at the company under their own representation.
6) Dues forcibly collected by unions are spent unscrupulously and without the consent or knowledge of the people paying them. Typically, these compulsorily dues are used as endorsements to politicians that agree to support unions during their administration. Unions pay politicians, politicians act in the best interests of the union (not the members necessarily), politicians get elected again. Vicious cycle. Under RTW laws, unions cannot force their members to pay dues that they do not want to pay.
7) Income inequality is not necessarily a sign of a poor economic state. During the mid 1800's, the US experienced a booming era of economic expansion while at the same time it saw its income inequality increase. During the great depression, equal distribution of earnings increased. Anyway, from 1992 and on, RTW states had a lower income inequality rate than non-RTW states. The favorable economic climate produced by RTW laws appears to be responsible for general income growth that benefits all workers and reduces income disparity. It is evident that, overall, the economies with RTW laws grow at a more steady rate than non-RTW states. This contradicts the widely held belief that unions alleviate uneven earning distributions. This may be true for individual companies, but it holds no water in a state-wide picture.
8) According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, from 1970-2000, average employment growth rates for RTW states was 2.9%, leading non-RTW states (2.0%). So RTW states experience higher employment rates. Unemployment rates from 1978-2000: RTW (5.8%), non-RTW (6.3).
9) Again, from the USBLS, from 1977-1999, RTW states saw an average of 3.4% growth in Gross State Product while the non-RTW rivals had 2.9% growth. This is substantial growth expansion difference especially when you consider the fact that it's been compounded over 23 years.
10) Because of the stranglehold that unions have on the manufacturing industry, northern states (non-right to work) are seeing a significant portion of their manufacturers fleeing to RTW states. In fact, non-RTW states have seen a decrease in manufacturing employment growth of .2% compounded annually from 1970-2000. Guess how the extent of RTW manufacturing employment growth? +1.5 %. The more and more industry that leaves non-RTW states hurts the industry that remains more and more. If there are less companies there, Unions can afford to hike up prices and increase company expenses to the point where it isn't worth it to stay.
Let's face it, the reason why norther states will not pass RTW laws is because the unions are in bed with the politicians. Union leaders in Boston, New York, Philadelphia would die before they let these laws pass. You think the protests in Madison were bad? Try pulling that off in New York. People would die. Buildings would be burned down.
RESPONSE TO PRO
1) I am not a legal expert, and will not attempt to debate whether or not it violates any U.S. federal law. As there are several states that have become "right-to-work," I presume those laws have been challenged and yet still stand. The current legality, however, I consider irrelevant on the question of whether or not "right-to-work" is better than union states.
2) This is a weak argument and contains a falsehood. Unions can come into being by a vote, and union actions -- approving or disapproving a new contract, union leadership, whether or not to strike, etc. -- is done through voting, direct democracy; it is a falsehood to state or attempt to imply that unions are entities that dictate their existence and authority over the will of workers. Further, unions inherently have no bargaining ability if other shop workers can work without being in the union; if the employer offers a contract to union workers that is unsatisfactory to the workers of the union and they vote to strike, the employer can permanently replace them with the non-union members of the shop and effectively prohibit any and all collective bargaining power.
3) This is completely false and made up; union shops have long withstood many legal challenges and have not been found to inherently violate anyone's civil rights. Unless Pro can cite an example where shop unions have been found to inherently violate the civil rights of workers by requiring union membership to work in a shop, I declare Pro's claim to be fallacious and debate voters should weigh this when evaluating Pro's 'Conduct' during the voting phase.
4) States that have 'right to work' laws do, indeed, have fewer unions. As a result, rates of poverty are much higher, public workers are often unable to live in he cities and districts where they work, quality of life is lower and a higher % of the populations in those states are dependent on public assistance, since lack of collective bargaining depresses wages and access to basic medicine for many workers. The tax base in these states is also much lower, since workers earn less to pay into those taxes.
5) Unions are unions, they are not for profit, they collect only enough money to fund their activities. Unions operate as a direct democracy, with positions within the union and acception or rejection of contracts conducted by ballot. Shop unions fight hard for their workers, and have a lot more negotiating power and achieve much better results; if 'right to work' state unions (which virtually don't exist since they don't have any real power to negotiate anything, as stated previously) really cared about their workers, wouldn't they get better results for their workers?
6) This is false and unsupported, and I won't even bother trying to respond to such false remarks.
7) During the mid 1800s, slavery was legal and in many Southern states, most of the population was slaves that had zero income. The economic expansion enriched only the already wealthy and privileged, it did not help the slaves nor young children working in factories nor other working and exploited poor one bit. During the Great Depression, the wealthy generally did not lose wealth and the income inequality skyrocketted with massive amounts of wealth concentrated in a very tiny minority while huge swaths of the population were homeless and impoverished. Income inequality has grown steadily over time, and accelerated with the rise of the union-busting laws to the point that in the 2000s, spearheaded by a union-busting president and Congress, the U.S. has set increasingly worse income inequity records with the 1% wealthiest people in the nation controlling 40% of the nation's total wealth; this compared with the 12% wealthiest people in the nation controlling 33% of the nation's total wealth 25 years ago. No European nation comes close to the U.S. in terms of wealth inequality, unless you count Russia with its oligarchies as a European power; another nation with a similar wealth inequality is Iran. Source: http://socialistworker.org...
Union workers in union shops earn much more, and it is a rather bold statement for Pro to claim this isn't true. As a matter of fact, it contradicts Pro's earlier argument in 3) that union shop labor garners higher pay. I ask voters in this debate consider Pro's inconsistency in Pro's unfounded claims in the appropriate cateories.
8) From 2000-2010, export of U.S. production to third world nations has experience unprecedented growth with a corresponding huge loss of jobs, especially in I.T. and industrial jobs, within the U.S. The reason, corresponding with Pro's claim, is obvious: fat will seek to go where they do not have to pay fair wages and abide by expensive environment and human rights laws. In this debate, which I presume is whether 'right-to-work' is a good thing, I believe it is irrelevant that greedy shop owners would move shops to anti-union states as they also move shops to tyrannical regimes that conduct forced, unpaid labor. I hope to heck Pro doesn't intend to argue that shop owners' greed is a more important value and right to protect than the right of every American to fair wages and benefits for their work.
9) See 8)
10) See 8)
1) With the decline of union states, replaced with "right-to-work" states, there has been a corresponding increase in the number and % of total population who have no or inadequate health coverage. Occasional bumps in the minimum wage aside, wages have actually declined (when factoring in cost of living and inflation) for most working-class folk. Thanks in no small part to union busting, gone are the days of the single family wage earner; while I am as for women working as anyone, with both parents in a home having to work full-time jobs, this
2) Pro's unnumbered claims about public unions are likely related to events in Wisconsin which has been tyranically transformed by the governor to not merely eradicate union shops, but to absolutely prohibit all collective bargaining for public workers regardless of whether they wish to or not, even after the unions reluctantly agreed to pay more for their members' health care. The rights for every member of every affected union were denied, as none had a voice in whether or not they wanted to dissolve their unions. The 'right to work' farce is anything but.
3) Unions have pushed hard for numerous improvements where they work to improve not only safety for the workers there, but quality for the customers and clients. In schools, for instance, teacher unions push hard to reduce class sizes, and the effect on education quality is significant. Unions force shop owners to pay closer attention to safety, to not exploit children nor allow undocumented workers and other abuses committed by employers to undercut fair pay. A 2003 report from the United States Department of Labor shows that states with right-to-work laws in general had a higher rate of workplace fatalities per 100,000 workers.
4) Unions in union-only shops do a much better job of protecting workers from discrimination and unfair hiring or firing practices by a company. RTW workers are paid little and cannot afford legal protection whereas in a union shop they would be inherently protected by the union against illegal practices by their employer.
5) Non-union members of RTW shops that have a union freeload bargaining off of paying union members; this is cheating and stealing.
(Ran out of space)
1) This point was not intended to be a pro-RTW statement. I was simply defending its legality in the event that my opponent challenged it.
2) Your point about unions being a democracy is valid, but limited. Very few issues directly affecting the members of a union are voted on. Obviously, bargaining agreements negotiated with the employer are voted upon by the rank and file, but all other decisions that will directly affect a union member are made at the discretion of union leadership. In many unions, decisions regarding strike benefits, promotions, grievance representation, and job assignments are at the sole discretion of union management. Unions, like any other political organization, are rife with cronyism, conflict of interest, nepotism, and outright corruption. To say that unions are a democracy is no more accurate than saying IBM is a democracy because their board of directors was elected by corporate shareholders.
3) Closed shops (unions that require immediate membership as a condition of employment) are, in fact, illegal in all states under the Taft-Hartley Act. Union shops (unions that require membership after a set period of employment) are illegal in 22 states with right to work laws. Obviously, many states are of the opinion that an individual's right to work is indeed a right. It can be argued that states without right to work laws are not adequately protecting an individual's right to work, creating an opportunity for union shops to infringe upon an individual's right to work. http://stossel.blogs.foxbusiness.com...
4)A) Your assertion that a state's poverty level is related to its right to work laws is unsubstantiated and conjecture at best. Other factors such as education, industry, culture, and natural resources (to name a few) also play a significant role in determining poverty level.
B) Local workers in my state and many other states that have no RTW laws, where union shops flourish, have the same problem. Your assertion that public workers cannot live in cities where they work is somehow due to right to work states is invalid as it is equally prevalent in both RTW and non-RTW states.
C) Based on the mass migration of non-RTW state inhabitants to RTW states that this country is currently experiencing, I find your comment regarding quality of life to be unsupported by the
empirical evidence. I have personally witnessed and know of many friends and neighbors who have left my state (NY) and moved to RTW states in pursuit of better quality of life.
D) Lack of collective bargaining reduces cost, improves efficiency, stimulates the economy, and improves competitiveness. It also allows the individual to be compensated based on his fair market value. Thereby promoting creativity, proficiency, hard-work, and the opportunity to be all you can be.
E) Yes it is true that taxes are lower in RTW states. But it isn't lower because they earn lower salaries, it's lower because government costs less. Again, the population of the US is quickly migrating to RTW states. Apparently low taxes are not a problem for the new residents.
F) . One important fact to note is that the poverty threshold is set by the federal government and not by the states themselves. This creates some inaccuracies when contrasting poverty rates between states; this is because, naturally, states have different financial situations. It is cheaper to live in RTW states, thus, they do not need to make as much money as people living in non-RTW states.
5) Unions are businesses, albeit, non-profit businesses. As this issue is incidental to my point regarding representation, we can agree to disagree. Whether a union is a democracy or not is irrelevant to the point, the issue is that once and individual joins a union, he forfeits his right to negotiate on his behalf. To the extent, an individual is forced to join a union, then he is forced to forfeit his right to negotiate on his own behalf. The effectiveness of collective bargaining is not in question; witness the exorbitant pay and benefits enjoyed by unions in non-RTW states, the point again, is an individual's right to negotiate on his own behalf. An individual negotiating on his own behalf may negotiate better terms or worse terms compared to the collective bargaining agreement. The point is that the individual should have a choice; union shops eliminate that choice and that right.
6) I always thought this was common knowledge. These sorts of contributions happen all the time. Go online and look up illegal union contributions and you'll find a large number of lawsuits regarding the issue. Also, if you know anybody that does work in a union, you'll most likely hear this from them as well. Every once and a while, they get caught. It happens; labeling it false doesn't mean it's untrue. Examples: http://www.atg.wa.gov... http://www.nj.com...
I would like to apologize to my opponent for not completing my second argument. I have been very busy these past few days and did not have ample free time to respond fully. I will be sure to respond to the remainder of your rebuttals and points made in round 1 at the cost of space in my remaining rounds.
Arguing on a point by point basis is necessary element of achieving reason debate, and Pro's derision of my addressing each of his points using facts, logic or reason as 'backhanded,' 'unreasonable' and 'disrespectful' unfortunately means my opponent is intolerant to debate or discussion on his claims. In a debate, an argument is made, and the opposition generally counterargues against points or claims made and attempting to make their own arguments. This is how debate is supposed to work in every venue I have debated in. I regret Pro seems unfamiliar with this and is even expressing hostility. Despite this, I feel compelled to continue pointing out flaws in select claims/points made by Pro points in addition to attempting to make pointsof my own.
2) Unions represent workers, and despite replete union opposition claims, are more productive, safer, and use their influence to encourage people to buy union products, effectively making them a source of free 'grassroots' advertising paid for out of the workers' pockets. Unions do not prosper on cronyism, given their limited power and resources, every position within a union must be functional. It is ludicrous to accuse unions of putting cronies in positions when those positions demand sharp skills, such as accounting contract law experts to negotiate labor contracts with the employer. Pro's argument also completely ignores the fact that non-union shops are rich with cronyism, employers having nothing to answer for to their employees since employers are not elected by the employees.
3) Many states still have laws on the books requiring a person be a practicing Christian before taking public office. That does not mean those laws are right. Furthermore, the fact corporate interests such as the Koch brothers have destroyed laws allowing workers to unionize in several states is completely irrelevant to the issue of whether or not outlawing union shops is a good or bad thing.
4) A) All of Pro's arguments, except the binary 'true/false' of what the laws are in some states, are unsubstantiated and unsupported. It is a fact that 'RTW' states take more in federal funding than the people of those states pay in federal taxes. It is a fact, and Pro even boasted about it, that the pay for workers in those states is substantially lower than in states that still allow workers in shops to vote to become union shops, and it is a fact that without unions to negotiate wages, employers deflate wages to below poverty levels; Wal-Mart being a huge example. In many states, full-time Wal-Mart workers qualify for public assistance. The UC Berkley Labor Study, in a 2004 study, in fact, found that in 2004, "reliance by Wal-Mart workers on public assistance programs in California comes at a cost to taxpayers of an estimated $86 million annually; this is comprised of $32 million in health related expenses and $54 million in other assistance." (source: http://laborcenter.berkeley.edu...) Wal-Mart is the biggest example because of their number of stores and overall size. The Walton family and Wal-Mart's upper management give themselves massive raises every single year, exploiting workers at sub-poverty wages and -- despite their massive wealth -- creating significant strains on state and federal public assistance programs as a substitute for paying fair wages and allowing union representation.
By this argument alone -- non-union shops pay wages so low that full-time workers are dependent on public assistance -- union-busting 'RTW' laws are bad, costing taxpayers a lot of money and contributing to the debt crises in not only the U.S. federal budget, but many state budgets.
B) is baseless and C) is false as my state -- Washington -- has had a huge influx of people moving from non-union states to work at places like Boeing, which is a union shop.
D) Lack of union bargaining does not reduce cost, it depresses wages and benefits, it increases reliance by full-time workers on public assistance (PROVEN above -with- referece)) which increases strain on taxpayers as well as lowering the quality of life for most of the people in the U.S., while the gap between rich and poor continues grows wider and wider. The destruction of unions leading sub-poverty wages so many American workers now get paid despite double-digit % increases year after year for the already wealthy corporate heads is a major gaping wound in the U.S. economy. It prevents even those with full-time jobs from being able to make their mortgage payments or rent and unable to buy goods such as cars while CEOs who completely crash their massive corporations so badly that the government has to bail out those corporations take huge 'golden parachute' bonuses whilst the workers get squat.
E) False and unreasonable. F) I proved this false in the above example of Wal-Mart.
5) Unions are organizations and are no more businesses than the Humane Society or a Presbyterian church. That you fail to distinguish a business that makes CEOs wealthy by exploiting its workers from a union that only thrives when its workers thrive is a logic, reason and comprehension flaw on your part. That you claim an individual has or even believes they have a capacity to successfully negotiate a contract with an employer that favors them is beyond the pale in falseness and unreasonableness. In legal court, a person representing themselves (aside from 'small claims' courts) is highly unlikely to succeed; similarly, a worker alone is unlikely to negotiate a good deal for themselves without collective bargaining power. Unions have the power because they can choose from their ranks the best negotiator to negotiate AND because if management refuses to bargain, the union has power that individuals lack to organize a strike. One individual with no union representing them can quit, but are quickly replaced ... losing the entire team of experienced workers is one of the very few means workers have of not being forced to accept sub-par contracts.
6) It is a common complaint made by corporate fatcats that outspend unions while representing a far smaller number of people, but that does not make it true. I have worked union jobs, sir, so if you want to ask a union worker, you are speaking to one right now. The fact that corporate interests have all but destroyed the unions' rights to try to balance out the massive unchecked political contributions made by the likes of the Waltons and the Koch brothers -- with absolutely no say at all from any of the workers in their corporations -- have managed to buy Congress and give themselves power and actually outlaw any effort by counterbalancing organizations like unions is beside the point.
I must also apologize to my opponent for the slowness of my own response, as I have had to deal with a family emergency. I have virtually consumed my response buffer, so will end my argument for this round here with a request that Pro at least attempt to address the points I made at the end of my argument in Round 1 after I had counter-argued the points made by Pro in his opening argument.
possible08 forfeited this round.
A) "Right to Work" states are falsely named; employment is no better in "right to work" states -- in fact (Michigan being an exception), "right to work" states tend to have higher levels of unemployment. Further, with no union protection for workers, employers fire employees frequently without just cause by relying on the fact that without a union to provide legal representation for workers, workers are unlikely to be able to get legal representation of their own in abusive, unjust firing.
B) Without unions continuously struggling to improve workplace conditions, "right to work" states have 52.9% higher rates of fatal workplace accidents -- more than half again the workplace fatality rate in union states, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
C) Most union members get 28% more pay than workers in "Right To Work" anti-union states; the disparity is even higher for Hispanics who get half again more pay than Hispanic workers in "Right To Work" anti-union states.
D) Higher wages aside, nearly four out of five private sector union shop jobs provide health insurance versus only about half no-union workers. About three-quarters of private sector union shop jobs also provide a guaranteed retirement plan, compared with only one in five non-union jobs. With lower pay, non-union members are unlikely to be able to afford to get these benefits on their own.
E) In 1980, when unions were stronger, executive pay averaged 42 times worker pay. As unions have been busted by Republicans over the years under the excuse that companies cannot afford union pay for workers, executive pay in 2009 was 263 times worker pay. Clearly, the "companies can't afford union wages" argument is completely bogus, as without a union to represent workers, those in power in a company will concentrate the pay in the upper management. Union shops are the only way workers can reduce the obscene inequities that get worse year after year, leaving workers with sub-poverty wages (so bad that full-time workers at mega-companies like Wal-Mart qualify for public assistance).
F) Given E, it is little wonder that "right-to-work" states pay less in federal taxes and drain more of federal public assistance. Workers in union shops making better pay with useful benefits contribute more to taxes and are less of a strain on public assistance, so union shops help balance the budget while "right to work" poverty-wage jobs. If reducing the federal and state deficits is something of value, "right to work" is definitely the wrong way to go.
G) Furthering the deficit argument, the concentration of wealth noted in E) is a double-whammy for the deficit -- in addition to workers making too little to contribute to government income in non-union states, a recent article by Stephen Ohlemacher of The Associated Press http://letters.salon.com... notes that thanks to loopholes and a paltry 15% capital gains tax (something only the very wealthy have), the 400 wealthiest Americans pay an average of only 17% in tax. With workers in their companies not earning enough to pay much tax, and the wealthy company executives paying very little thanks to all the loopholes, non-union shops do not pay their fair share in taxes; by contrast, union workers -- with their decent pay -- pay more of federal tax (more of their income than the wealthy). With the concentration of wealth so bad in "right to work states" and that wealth concentration so minimally taxed, that is a significant contribution to the deficit.
The above facts and points further the conclusion that "right to work" anti-union laws not only harm workers through lower pay and lack of benefits such as health insurance, but they contribute to the budget deficit, and if you agree that having a budget deficit is a bad thing, than so is "right to work." Its bad for workers, its bad for the nation.
possible08 forfeited this round.
The union-busting "right to work" states are a detriment to the public well-being and the sustainability of government. By taking away the rights of workers to unionize, unchecked power is given to the already wealthy whose lobbyists have gotten them to pay little tax for their wealth, while paying sub-poverty wages to their workers and no benefits such as basic health coverage. "Right to work" states add to the deficit by making full time workers reliant on the government to provide basic assistance while earning so little that they pay very little tax, and with lobbied tax loopholes the owners pay little in tax either (certainly not enough to pay for the public assistance their employees are forced to seek due to being underpaid).
In 1981, some 12,000 air traffic controllers went on strike to fight for shorter work weeks to decrease exhaustion that was a menace to safety, but then President Reagan busted the union and fired every union worker. The result was an immediate skyrocket of accidents that did not return to pre-strike levels until the 1990s. Although the replacement air traffic controllers were eventually allowed to form a new union, it is not allowed to strike and thus has no real force when pressing for two controllers to be on duty all night, leading to a recent string of incidents in various control towers of only one controller being on duty and unable to do their job on their own.
A similar incident occurred with a prison guard here in Washington state recently, as despite her and her union's protests, "reduce the government" efforts led to staff downsizing and she was a lone guard on duty with dangerous prisoners, one of whom murdered her on the job.
Unions always have and continue to fight hard for their workers to have decent working conditions for safety, to let their members do their jobs and be paid fairly for it. Without union representation, employers (whether public or private) will always seek to cut corners wherever they can and can easily ignore workers, because one worker who complains they are overworked or underpaid can be fired, but the force of a labor union prevents this and gives some measure of safety and fairness.
There is no excuse for full time workers to be in need of public assistance, that's obscene greed and it needs some sort of check. Workers should be allowed to form unions to negotiate working conditions, pay and benefits. Without collective bargaining, workers have no real voice to negotiate anything.
"Right to work" laws harm safety, worsen the deficit, and only benefit the already wealthy. Thank you for taking the time to read and consider my arguments, and please take the time to cast your vote for who conducted themselves best in this debate in the appropriate categories.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by 16kadams 4 years ago
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