What does right to work really mean?

To the editor:I have read a lot of letters to the editor recently that represent misunderstandings and half-truths about the right-to-work (RTW) bill that was recently vetoed by Governor Lynch.The RTW bill does not outlaw unions. People would still be free to join a union – and retain their ability to be represented under a collective bargaining agreement, or CBA.The RTW bill would ensure that people who do not want to join a union – will also NOT have to pay an “agency fee” to the union. The amount of the fee can vary, but usually ranges from 55 percent to 85 percent of what a union employee would pay. Currently, if someone is employed in a union-represented position under a CBA, but has opted out of joining the union – they are still required to pay an “agency fee.”The justification of the fee is based upon the premise that the union is negotiating the non-union employee’s wages and benefits, and providing grievance support – even though the non-union employee opted out of union representation and would prefer to negotiate on their own.The RTW bill would prohibit forced participation in a union. Some CBAs have been written in a way that subverts the law – by including language that allows for employees to accept a job and not join a union for a pre-defined introductory period. However, once the introductory period has passed the employee is required to either join the union or be dismissed. There is no choice to continue working as a non-union employee. The RTW bill would protect a worker’s right to choose, and make this type of situation illegal and provide penalties for violations.The RTW bill would make collection of union dues from each union member the responsibility of the unions – and not the employer (as it is now) through payroll deductions without written approval of the member. This would empower each union member – providing recourse in the event their union leadership did not provide adequate representation.At any point in time, unionized members could choose to withhold their dues and/or quit the union. This would be true freedom of choice for each worker, and make union leaders more responsive to their members.The RTW bill would encourage businesses to migrate to New Hampshire. Firms that handle company relocations indicate that when companies are looking to expand their businesses into another state, that in nearly half the cases one of the first considerations is whether or not the state has a RTW law in place.This was a main factor in Boeing opening a new assembly plant in South Carolina, providing thousands of new, high-paying manufacturing jobs.The RTW bill is not anti-union. It is pro-choice. It is good for New Hampshire’s workers, businesses and economy. It is a win-win-win.Ken Eyring

Categories: Cook on Concord