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Article published December 26, 2012
Union dues are fair
Anthony ResnickLos Angeles, Calif.
I am writing in response to Dick Rittelmann’s Dec. 14 letter to the editor, “OK better union rule.” Rittelmann’s letter is premised on a misunderstanding of the current state of labor law. His concern — union members being forced to contribute to political causes they do not agree with — already has been addressed by the U.S. Supreme Court. Under the court’s rulings, employees in a unionized workplace have the option to opt out of paying any portion of their dues or fees that is not spent on representing members in collective bargaining. Unions in all states must account for what they spend on collective bargaining and what they spend on politics or organizing new members, so employees who desire only to pay for collective bargaining can do so. The injustice, therefore, is not in the states that allow union shops but in the so-called “right to work” states, where employees in unionized workplaces can enjoy the better wages, benefits and job security that unions provide, without paying their fair share of the cost of obtaining those benefits. The term “right to work” is misleading. There is no absolute “right to work” anywhere in this country. All employment is subject to certain conditions. Employees agree to perform certain duties for a certain wage at a certain time, and often have to agree to stand-ards of conduct and dress. Requiring employees to pay their fair share for the representation their brother and sister employees have chosen is just one more condition, and a perfectly fair and reasonable one.