Gary Younge thinks this is a bad thing

Meanwhile, according to the Wall Street Journal, union membership has slumped since he banned automatic deduction of union dues from salaries. The WSJ reported that membership of the state\’s second largest public sector union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, fell by more than half in Walker\’s first year while the American Federation of Teachers lost more than a third of its members.

Not entirely sure I agree with him. An increase in freedom to pay or not to pay for union membership is a good thing, surely?

8 thoughts on “Gary Younge thinks this is a bad thing”

  1. So Much For Subtlety

    Have you ever read anything written by Younge?

    I suppose it is the same as taxation. They think it is right to be forced to pay for all sorts of things. Why not Union dues too? He probably thinks it is racist to object going on his past schtick.

  2. I guess you’d really need to know whether “automatically deducted” also means compulsorily deducted, or whether such automatic deduction was at the option of the employee.

  3. Geoff,

    Younge does give the links – you need to follow a short trail but eventually you get to:

    A provision of the Walker law that eliminated automatic dues collection hurt union membership. When a public-sector contract expires the state now stops collecting dues from the affected workers’ paychecks unless they say they want the dues taken out, said Peter Davis, general counsel of the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission.

    In many cases, Afscme dropped members from its rolls after it failed to get them to affirm they want dues collected, said a labor official familiar with Afscme’s figures. In a smaller number of cases, membership losses were due to worker layoffs.

    So it seems that the previous position was, if not “compulsorily deducted”, at least “deducted by default.”

    Mind you, I wouldn’t be a teacher in the UK without membership of a union (or similar professional body with a legal protection service.) The USian attitude seems to be slightly different – unless there are alternative non-wedded-to-the-Dems versions available.

  4. So he thinks that a reduction in dues-paying members is bad? That the people the union is supposed to serve don’t think the union is worth what they pay for it and the answer is not to let it wither away but reinstate forced tithing?

  5. Geoff –
    In the case of the union dues, “automatically” means “forced” – not even that the default is opt-in, you don’t have the option to opt out.

    This is seperate from automated pay deductions that you may choose to have set up.

  6. That old leftie FDR was against public sector unions too. His reasoning was that a union of private employees was one thing, a conspiracy against We, the People was another.
    Walker for PM!

  7. British Rail did this to the RMT ( or maybe it was still the NUR then ) in the late 80s or early 90s, can’t remember the exact date, it made little or no difference to union membership and was actually an incentive to the union to tighten up the membership records. It had another unintended consequence, up until then BR had known who was in the union so could get a good idea of the effects of any proposed strike action, as well as being able to ask people directly if they’d be striking. After the change this wasn’t possible and it also meant that non union members could quite safely join in if they wanted to without much risk of repercussions, so a bit of an own goal in some ways. I’ve no idea whether any of that is relevant to the case at issue but it always struck me, as a union member, that ending the closed shop and making unions responsible for collecting their own dues were positive things that acted in the workers favour. Of course the well being of the workforce is not necessarily the uppermost consideration in the minds of leftists.

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