Most of my life I have lived in a right to work state. I have never experienced the acutely painful joy of forced unionism...until I received my first pay check here. After union dues, I made about 1.77 an hour. This is completely legal, as its only for the first thirty days that dues are double their usual size. This does not change the fact, however, that it takes me two hours to pay my normal union dues, a week. Double dues are actually closer to six hours a week than two.
I assure you, it hurt seeing that first paycheck. I was angry enough to give my coworkers pause for concern, and several of my friends. After I calmed down, (around 3 am) I began to research. I threw myself into it, trying to figure out what it was the legality of my situation.
The legality of it? It was perfectly fine for me to have a take home pay of 1.77. There was nothing illegal about it. There was nothing I could do to stop it either. In fact, I had no recourse by acceptance. Why?
Maryland is a forced unionism state. If I am not a member of the union, they will take out service fees, for the benefits I enjoy thanks to the union. No matter what, I won't be making much, and will have fees docked.
It is absolutely infuriating. When asked, my coworkers admitted that they didn't know what the union had done for them in the past year. The union representative, alas, gave me a spiel of nonsense. I was unimpressed. I understand the purpose of a union. I am a firm believer in the necessity of collective bargaining in situations where the workers are in a bad place.
But what happens when the union is the one that the workers need protection from? The answer? I'm not certain. There are places online and phone numbers to call. However, I would proceed with all caution.
After all, they say they are there to protect against corruption in the union, but how do I know they aren't placed there by a corporation? It's hard for me to say.
I do know something. No union should be able to dock a worker's pay for wages without their express consent. To do so is immoral, at best, and cruel at worse. All that doing so makes me want to do is leave the state for one where common sense, and the ability to unionize only if you want to, is there.
I believe in the power of collective bargaining, and I believe that workers do have the right to be treated well and paid a wage they can live on. What I do not believe in is forcing a person to be a member of any organization against their will.
The only losers when a union forces people to be its members by the way? The lower ranking peons (like myself) who depend on the union to do their job are taken advantage of. Those very people that the union is made to protect are the ones who are most harmed by this legal binding.
One Final Byte: I prefer a Right to Work state, definitely.