Misnomers/right to work/association

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Marketists often argue that mandatory union membership, or mandatory union surcharges, are a violation of the freedom of association guaranteed by the Constitution.

However, this presumes that one is not free to choose not to work at a unionized workplace. While it is certainly true that many people will feel economically compelled to work at jobs at which they would prefer not to work, the exact opposite claim is a required premise of the "right to work" argument:

  • Premise: Nobody would choose to work at a job if they didn't want to.
  • Therefore anyone who works at a non-union job is doing so voluntarily.
  • Therefore the fact that non-union jobs have no trouble hiring means that workers see non-union jobs as a good thing.
  • Therefore the non-union jobs are a good thing.
  • RtW laws prevent employers from requiring union membership or union dues as a condition of employment.
  • Therefore RtW laws give people more desirable choices.
  • Therefore RtW laws are a good thing.

In other words, they change their beliefs from one argument to the next: They argue against workplace safety laws and minimum wage because they believe people are free to find another job if the current one is unsafe or doesn't pay eneough – but they argue for union-busting "right-to-work" laws because they believe people aren't free to find a non-union job if they don't want to "associate" with a union.

Whether or not you believe that people can always change jobs if they want, you can't support RtW laws and oppose workplace regulation; they're mutually inconsistent.