Worker’s Choice: A Solution That Benefits Everyone

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Posted by Rayanne Matlock on Tuesday, October 18th, 2016, 4:48 PM PERMALINK

Seventy percent of union members in Michigan agree that employees who choose to opt-out of union membership should represent themselves in negotiations with their employer. As it stands, current policy does not allow that to happen.

Michigan is seeking to change the norm with Worker’s Choice, introduced to the state legislature this year by State Rep. Gary Glenn, R-Midland. First championed by Mackinac Center for Public Policy’s Vincent Vernuccio, Worker’s Choice provides a simple solution that works for employees, unions and even employers in the public sector. The policy allows for employees to represent themselves in negotiations with their employer if they choose to opt out of union membership.

Unions present in a public sector workplace are required to represent all employees, whether they are dues-paying members or not. Unions claim that these employees who have opted out are “free-riding”, or receiving their services without membership.

On the flipside, employees aren’t free from union grasp either. Each employee is unique, and they all have different needs. These employees may be subject to working conditions not suitable for their lifestyle, and they can’t do anything about it.

Worker’s Choice solves both of these concerns by severing the relationship between nonmembers and unions, so that nonmembers can represent themselves should they desire different working conditions.

But the benefits don’t stop there.

As recently explained in an ATR op-ed on Worker’s Choice, employers have something to gain from the policy as well:

“Employers would benefit from Worker’s Choice because, by increasing the odds of employees appreciating their hours, salaries and other terms of employment, workplace morale and loyalty would likely increase.”

Lastly, even union members can benefit from Worker’s Choice. The policy would provide competition in the workplace between individuals representing themselves for better working conditions, and union members. This will incentivize unions to better represent their workers so as to retain union membership.

 Worker’s Choice is a fair policy that works for everyone. It would end unions’ concern that they are being taken advantage of, grant workers the freedom to negotiate on behalf of themselves and potentially make things better for union members and employers.

Read ATR’s full op-ed on Worker's Choice here

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