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In essence, if a union is formed according to certain guidelines, an employer cannot refuse to deal with the union, nor take any action against employees for joining such a union. [See here for details on union legislation]. (The Wiki has stuff too, e.g. here.)

One change (for the worse) that pro-union folks want to enact is called "card check". This legislation would say that secret ballots are no longer required, when employees are deciding whether or not to join a union. Instead, they can just sign up on some type of petition document. Think of the type of pressure that can be brought to bear if voting is not secret.

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thanks for that link, sNerd.

Apparently you never have been so poor that you have to do without electricity a few months, or eat just beans and bread for dinner, or stand in line at the labor hall (or worse on the street) hoping today you can get an honest day's work. In case it never occurred to you when you are below poverty level you essentially don't pay taxes. Do you see these people rolling in so much extra money that they take their kids to private schools? No. Why? Because the no-taxation brings more money argument is a farce in this instance.

I hear this a lot, actually, and I'm wondering how some people on this board respond to it. I generally say that if education were completely privatized, the costs of schooling would necessarily be driven a lot lower than they are today in private education.

Also -- though this doesn't directly relate to this topic, but I believe the "anomaly" addressed here, fact that people below the poverty line who don't pay taxes aren't raking in tons of extra money can partially be explained by the fact that perhaps some of those people WANT to stay that way, if they are receiving tons of government benefits.

Though I could be wrong on these points -- what do you think?

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I'm curious as to what examples you could provide in terms of laws that favor the unions? This is crucially important to my understanding of the monopoly status the NEA has...

When unions are able to maintain a "closed shop", they can require every employee to join the union and pay the dues. This is quite common unless you live in a right to work state.

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I live in NH -- don't know if its a right to work state -- but I do know that teachers do not HAVE to join the union -- although if they want a raise or to negotiate their contract, they still have to hire a negotiation agent or something like that. Is this not the case in other states?

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NH -- don't know if its a right to work state -- ...
Does not appear to be. From information on that site, it appears that states that do not have "right to work" still allow workers to stay out of the union, as long as they pay the union dues (how magnanimous, taxation without representation!) Also, the rules vary for Federal employeesm State and Local employees, Railway employees, and so on.

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Does not appear to be. From information on that site, it appears that states that do not have "right to work" still allow workers to stay out of the union, as long as they pay the union dues (how magnanimous, taxation without representation!) Also, the rules vary for Federal employeesm State and Local employees, Railway employees, and so on.

That's the case in Michigan where my wife is a teacher. She refuses to join the union (the MEA), but they still deduct their dues from her paycheck every two weeks.

Beyond their role in the destruction of education, unions have been a disaster for this state. Auto and manufacturing plants are still being built in America, just not in Michigan. We have what is arguably the most skilled manufacturing labor force in the world, but plants are shutting down here while new ones are opened in Kentucky, TN, Georgia, etc...

Relative to other states, Michigan’s per capita income has been in freefall since 2000 and now stands at an astonishing 7.8 percent below the national average — unprecedented since the Great Depression. If recent trends in income continue, Michigan will be poorer than Alabama during our next governor’s first term. Outbound migration is now almost as high as it was during the painful 1982 recession.

Twenty-two states never compel union fees or membership as a condition of employment. A 2007 study by Mackinac Center labor policy analyst Paul Kersey reveals some startling numbers about how Michigan compares with them. Between 2001 and 2006, gross state product in those states grew by an average of 18.1 percent, compared to Michigan’s paltry 3.4 percent, the slowest of all 50 states.

During the same five-year period, employment declined in Michigan by 4.8 percent while it grew in the voluntary union states by 6.4 percent. By any meaningful measure of jobs and income, growth in voluntary union states far exceeds all other states and especially Michigan. Adjust for bonuses and the cost of living and even many non-union auto workers in places like Tennessee are earning more and have more job security than unionized auto workers here.

The economic principles at work in the labor markets of Michigan's auto industry also apply to education.

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But if teachers unions exist in the private market as well, why is it listed as a reason that makes gov't schools bad? It would make all schools bad. It seemed like he was condeming gov't schools because they had unions, but the gov't part doesn't have anything to do with the union part.

Dont confuse the existence of unions per se with the nature of them under certain systems. Just because unions might exist under capitalism doesn't say what power they would have, and in which industries they would survive.

The government sure does h ave role in keeping union power alive. One aspect is the legality of closed shop rules. The other is the role of the NLRB (National Labor Relations Board) in resolving disputes. Both of these are skewed in favor of unionization, especially once the union is established, thus the big push for unionization votes. Note today the UAW has a strangle hold on the big three, but foreign car companies so far have been able to establish plants in the US without much unionization. That means there must be something non-free-market based that makes deunionization difficult.

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In essence, if a union is formed according to certain guidelines, an employer cannot refuse to deal with the union, nor take any action against employees for joining such a union....

Not only that, but many times, unions and their members initiate force (through violence) against their employers and against non-union replacement workers, and the government does nothing about it.

For instance, striking workers often will block the entrances to a plant so that replacement workers can not come to work. I've also known of cases in which union workers on strike destroyed company property and shot at replacement workers and vandalized their cars, yet no action was taken against the striking thugs.

In fact, I read once that a court had ruled that some kinds of union violence is even acceptable because it's part of a labor dispute.

....

In addition to what's been pointed out already, if an employer tries to tell its side of the story - e.g. by explaining to its workers why joining a union would be bad, that employer risks being prosecuted for an "unfair labor practice." So an employer ends up not even having the right to free speech.

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Another example of teachers' unions causing problems... In Florida, businesses can contribute to certain charities that help poor kids attend private schools. The teacher's union is threatening to sue, to end the tax-credit that businesses get for such contributions.

Meanwhile, a charter school opening in NYC in 2009, is going to experiement with high teacher pay (over $100,000 -- much higher than normal) and bonuses. Unions in public schools (like most unions) have resisted performance-based pay.

Edited by softwareNerd

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Nevada has just enacted a voucher-like plan, but even more flexible. The state will deposit a little over $5,000 into an education saving account, and the parent can spend it on a list of education-related things for the child. Also, the money rolls over from year to year, giving one still more choice.

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