by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The Washington Post has run a blatantly deceptive op-ed calling for the repeal of Virginia’s right-to-work (RTW) law. It was authored by one Sean Perryman, identified as a Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor of Virginia.
Perryman claims that RTW laws “prohibit or severely limit the ability of labor unions to represent workers . . . and to fight for decent pay, better conditions, retirement, insurance, and leave for sickness or vacation.”
That claim is simply false. What RTW statutes do is prevent workers from being fired just because they decline to pay dues to a labor union. It is the escape hatch for workers who conclude that the union that was elected to represent their interests either costs more than it’s worth to them or advances interests that they do not share. RTW laws protect freedom of choice for workers, but as we know, the Democratic party is only in favor of freedom of choice when it comes to abortion.
What happens if one or more workers in a union-represented business decide to exercise their freedom to stop paying union dues? Does that shut down the union? Does it “prohibit or severely limit” the union in collective bargaining? No. It just means that the union will have to do so with slightly less money. Union officials could make up the difference by taking somewhat less of a cut for themselves.
Democrats such as Perryman want to get rid of RTW laws because doing so would marginally increase the intake of dues for unions, which spend heavily on Democratic campaigns.
Perryman tries desperately to paint RTW as a racist conspiracy, but it won’t wash. … It is racially neutral on its face and in its effect.