Saturday, March 26, 2011

It's a Dry Weekend and I am in Need of Liquid Nourishment (a.k.a. thirsty)

Just curious,

Q:  Have any of you ever busted out your Weingarten Rights on a Deanflake? 

A:  (be honest and specific)


  1. (I had to google this one, since the only Weingarten who makes a regular appearance in my life is Gene, the humor columnist).

    A: No, because I live/work in a right-to-work state, and so have no union. Also, I've never been summoned to an "investigatory interview," or, for that matter, had any sort of conversation with a Dean (other than during on-campus interviews at other institutions for jobs I *didn't* get. Contingent faculty and Deans do not typically encounter each other, during the hiring process or at any other time.)

  2. Does "right-to-work" genuinely mean "we'll throw your sorry ass in jail for even thinking about starting a union"? Or does it mean that you can have a union if you want but that no place of employment is required to hire only people in the union?

    Because outlawing unions outright is astonishing to me.

  3. I too live in a "right-to-work" state, but used to live in a state with a union.

    This so called "right-to-work" has me royally confused as well.

  4. I'm not very well-informed myself, but, after a bit of googling around, I think it's this:

    "Or does it mean that you can have a union if you want but that no place of employment is required to hire only people in the union?"

    The thing is, at least in theory, I support this approach. I really don't think someone should be required to join, or pay dues to, a union if they want to work at a particular place. And if unions are genuinely useful (and I think they are/can be) then you'd expect workers to support them even if not required, and to "invest" dues in an organization that results in overall higher wages/benefits.

    In practice, though, it seems that Right to Work states have extremely weak union movements, if they have any at all, and that it's very, very hard to organize a new union in such places. The explanation seems to be that, if they're not forced to pay for the union, too many people try to take a "free ride," reaping the benefits but not paying the dues.

    If anyone more knowledgeable has more information to add, I'd be most interested.

  5. Actually, evolutionary theory addresses this pretty well. Unions work by group selection; the group (workers) benefits if everyone sacrifices a little (pays dues). If this structure is not enforced, the most beneficial behavior for an individual is to gain the benefits but not incur the sacrifices. If this is allowed, the group quickly falls apart as individuals each pursue the most beneficial individual strategy.

    Does is really seem fair to get the benefits of a union while letting everyone else pay the costs? There's a reason why group selection theory doesn't make sense in the long term. In biology it doesn't work, and in labor it's a great way to get workers to bust their own unions.


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