If Collective Bargaining Is Banned For Workers, It Should Be Banned For Stockholders Too

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This post has been updated, note .Last night, Michigan’s Republican Governor Rick Snyder signed into law what has now become the standard Republican labour legislation.

It’s called by the euphemism “Right to Work,” and it bans contracts between companies and unions that require all of the company’s workers to pay dues to the union that represents their interests by bargaining against management on their behalf, regarding workers’ wages and other benefits.          

Management, of course, represents the corporation’s owners, its stockholders; and management is paid by them to bargain for their collective interests, which are to maximise profits and thus boost the value of their stock.

Every corporation needs owners, and the management is their authorised collective bargaining agent against the other employees, the corporation’s workers.           

Every corporation also needs not just owners (stockholders) but also workers. If collective bargaining should be banned on the part of workers, then it should also be banned on the part of stockholders – there can be no fairness to ban collective representation for only one of the two sides of the corporate bargaining table.          

What would it mean to ban collective bargaining for stockholders? The management would not be paid by any stockholders who do not want to contribute to paying executives’ salary and benefits. Just as with “Right to Work,” there would then be a “Right to Own” (to extend the Republican euphemism from the other side), which frees owners of the obligation to pay their collective bargainers, the management.

If workers are to be allowed to freeload upon the union that bargains for them, then owners must equally be allowed to freeload upon the management that bargains for them. Freeloaders must be allowed on both sides, if allowed on one side. Isn’t that only fair?           

Therefore, the Republican policy position, which allows freeloading for workers who don’t want to pay union dues, must become moderated to include also the allowance of similar freeloading-rights on the part of stockholders.        

The Democratic Party has never proposed allowing stockholders to avoid paying their management, but the Republican Party has long favoured, and now is increasingly actually passing into legislation in many states, allowing workers to freeload and not pay the people who bargain for their collective interests – “Right to Work” laws.           

Why is this? Are Republicans simply indecent and profoundly unfair people? What do you think?

Why isn’t the Democratic Party similarly trying to pass into law legislation to allow stockholders to exempt themselves from paying the management?

Please comment below. Your comments will be interesting – and not just to yourself. This is an important issue.

UPDATE: When I wrote this, I had not seen this from Mark Ames, asserting that, “The ‘right-to-work’ movement to destroy labour unions began almost as soon as FDR passed the Wagner Act in the mid-1930s,” and that it was initiated and led by Vance Muse, a corporate lobbyist and White-supremacist who hated Jews and who also opposed women’s suffrage. “In 1936, he incorporated in Texas another union-busting outfit called the ‘Christian American Association’ which was closely associated with the Texas Ku Klux Klan,” and he was backed in all of his union-busting campaigns by money from the du Ponts, Henry Ford, Howard Pew, and other well-known American financial backers of Adolf Hitler. So, if Ames is correct, then Muse’s idea of calling this fascist legislation a “right to work” would have been consistent with Hitler’s championing of use of “the Big Lie” technique for deceiving the public, such as at the entrance to Hitler’s concentration camps, the big sign there: “Arbeit macht frei.” “Right to Work” laws – calling them by that name makes sense, in this sense.

I have found source-documentation for Ames’s assertion that the phrase “right to work” goes back to “the mid-1930s”: it’s an article, “Auto Chiefs Again Hit at Wagner Bill,”in the Milwaukee Journal, April 7, 1935. In it, the Automobile Manufacturers’ Association announced that it had sent to U.S. Senator David I. Walsh a letter saying that, “Automobile manufacturers stand squarely on the American principle that men have an inalienable right to work.” The manufacturers were standing opposed there to the idea that union members needed to pay a union’s dues in order to work at a unionized plant. In other words: they were proposing “right to work” in the very same fascistic sense that the phrase is used by Republicans today, their version of “Arbeit macht frei” for America’s workers.

Senator Walsh was the Chairman of the Senate’s labour Committee. He subsequently became prominent in the German-supported America First Committee, which opposed the U.S. joining with Winston Churchill against Adolf Hitler. Here is Senator Walsh’s speech to the America First Committee in July 1940.


Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.