The Value of Union Elections
Today, many government workers are practically “married for life” to the union representing them in their professional fields. For a variety of reasons, decertification elections—the elections that allow workers to fire a union or hire a new one—are notoriously hard to come by, and that bias toward the status quo can be a serious problem for workers when an incumbent union fails to do its job well.
One proposal to fix this problem would restructure the process by which a government workplace becomes unionized by holding elections for unionized government employees every two years. In these elections, public employees would be able to keep their union, choose another union, or forgo union representation altogether.
For workers, that could mean serious money.
Consider the firefighters in Chesterfield. A union firefighter in Chesterfield pays $2,169.18 a year in union dues. While some might feel that this is money well spent, other firefighters may take a dim view of the value they're getting for the price—perhaps preferring to save or spend that money on other needs in their households. Shouldn’t our public employees, from firefighters to teachers and social workers, have some choice over this portion of their paycheck?
Regular union elections give workers this choice. If they had union elections and chose to boot out the union for the next two years, they’d save a little over $4,300. If this didn’t work out, they could always go back to the status quo. And they’d be $4,300 richer for it.
Union elections not only give workers the option of going without a union or signing up with a new union, but it also preserves the right of workers to keep their union if they believe it gives them the best deal. And it’s this freedom to choose that’s really valuable.