by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Every morning, hardworking men and women in every state drink their coffee and diligently go to work on our behalf—in our neighborhoods as public school teachers, home care workers, engineers, and in agencies protecting the environment. Unfortunately, while these civic-minded professionals go to work for us, the labor unions that they must join in order to teach our children or serve our communities do not always work for them.
Once a public-sector union is certified, it remains the workers’ representative—potentially forever. In Ohio, for example, the Columbus Education Association has represented Columbus public school teachers since 1968—back when the Beatles were still together and before many of today’s teachers were even born.
Heirloom unions inherited from the Nixon-era are depriving today’s public workers and civil servants of any meaningful voice or choice in their workplace. Ninety-four percent of union workers have never had the chance to vote for or against their unions. …
… There is a solution.
With worker voting rights, public employees would have regular elections to encourage their unions to be more responsive to their members’ interests. Worker voting rights gives union workers an opportunity to be heard, to voice their concerns to their union leaders, to better understand how their union dues are spent, and to choose for themselves whether to keep the union they have, vote their union out, or vote in a better union. Worker voting rights would incentivize union leaders to cultivate broader support among the workforce they represent and to be accountable to their rank-and-file members. Not surprisingly, 82% of unionized Americans favor holding periodic votes on their union representation.