Labor Day

September 7, 1998
Today is Labor Day, so it might be worthwhile to talk about a labor issue that is often ignored by the media. That issue is the right to work. When unions began, membership was not compulsory. In fact, the founder of the American Federation of Labor, Samuel Gompers said, "The workers of America adhere to voluntary institutions in preference to compulsory systems, which are not only impractical, but a menace to their welfare and their liberty."

But about 60 years ago, Congress changed that when it placed provisions in the National Labor Relations Act and the Railway Labor Act to allow union bosses to collect workers' wages. Today more than 8 million American workers are forced to pay dues as a condition of employment.

That is why there is a movement afoot to pass a national right-to-work law. The bill would not add a single word to the federal law. It would only remove those sections of federal law in which the federal government granted powers to union officials.

This seems to me to be the essence of the American ideal. You should not be forced to join a union or pay union dues unless you want to do so. You should not be forced to fund a political campaign through your union dues unless you want to. Thomas Jefferson said, "To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves is sinful and tyrannical."

A right-to-work bill would not affect the right of an individual to form or join a union. That would still be protected under federal law. But the bill would also protect a person's right not to join or support a union. That's the bill we need to pass before next year's Labor Day.

I'm Kerby Anderson of Probe Ministries, and that's my opinion.

© 1998 Probe Ministries International