Union workers generally feel the same way about workplace satisfaction regardless of whether their state has right-to-work laws or not, according to a survey conducted for National Employee Freedom Week.
The National Employee Freedom Week (NEFW) campaign was first started five years ago to educate workers on their union membership rights. The coalition behind the week commissioned a survey which found that satisfaction among union members tends to be the same regardless of whether a state makes union dues mandatory or not.
Labor unions often claim that right-to-work laws make conditions worse for workers. But the survey results appear to show a much different story. How a unionized worker feels about work and their union is about the same in both states. The survey also found workers are increasingly supportive of ideas like regular union recertification votes.
“I was looking forward to it this year simply because we did a more in depth study,” NEFW spokesman Michael Schaus told InsideSources. “So it was a little more different than what we have done in years past. So far the response to it has been very good.”
The national survey was administered to 1,687 union members with the sample split between those in right-to-work and compulsory dues states. The research found that 68 percent of union members in right-to-work states were satisfied with the wage provisions in their contracts. Union members in compulsory dues states showed little difference at 67 percent.
Union members in right-to-work states also displayed greater satisfaction with working condition provisions at 77 percent. Union members in compulsory dues states showed only 71 percent satisfaction. Unionized workers were also more likely to believe their union was helping to improve workplace safety in right-to-work states.
Union members across both states also showed the same satisfaction with their most recent union contract negotiations at 36 percent. Union members in compulsory dues states were slightly more happy with the outcome of the negotiations at 36 percent compared to 35 percent in right-to-work states.
The NEFW is being held this year between August 20 and 26. It is supported by a coalition that includes over a hundred organizations. The week has also been used to advocate for policies that give workers more choice on whether to join a union.
The polling found that union workers generally support the idea of regular recertification votes as well. Union members across the country supported the idea at 70 percent. The policy would require unions to hold a vote after a certain number of years in order to stay in a workplace.
Union workers also generally approved of a policy known as worker choice. The policy is like an enhanced version of right-to-work in that it allows employees to choose whether they want to be covered by a union contract. Union contracts cover everyone in a bargaining unit when a union becomes the exclusive representative.
“One of the big things the last two years has been this idea of worker choice,” Schaus said. “That’s kind of like right-to-work on steroids. Someone can opt-out and they no longer have to abide by the union contract.”
Labor unions and their supporters argue that optional dues encourage workers to free-ride. They are obligated to represent all workers regardless of whether they pay dues once they get voted in as the exclusive representative. Worker choice supporters argue the policy would solve the problem by ending that requirement.
The Nevada Policy Research Institute (NPRI) first created the education week as a local initiative. The institute conducted a campaign to let teachers in Clark County, Nevada, know they could end their membership with the Clark County Education Association by submitting a written notice from July 1 to July 15.
“It got started as a small little project here in Clark County, Nevada, where we were going to let local teachers know they can opt-out of their teacher’s union if they wanted to,” Schaus said. “It’s really blown up into this national movement.”
The coalition backing NEFW is primarily supported by conservative and libertarian groups with a focus on free-markets and economics. Americans for Prosperity Foundation, the Center for Union Facts, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, FreedomWorks, and the National Right to Work Committee are among the member groups.