The Leaflet: National Employee Freedom Week

Published August 12, 2016

From August 14–20, a coalition of 102 groups in 42 states are banding together to celebrate National Employee Freedom Week (NEFW). NEFW celebrates right-to-work reforms across the nation and aims to inform union workers about their right to leave a union without loss of employment, salaries, benefits, or seniority.

Millions of workers currently reside in states or districts where they are required to pay dues or fees to a union as a condition of employment. Others are shackled because of “drop” periods that secretly lengthen union membership or, worst of all, mislead people to believe joining a union is the only option available.

In a 2015 Somewhat Reasonable article, Heartland State Government Relations Manager Logan Pike argued union workers are often misled into paying for representation they may consider unwarranted or political contributions that oppose their interests and viewpoints. “Union members usually can leave their union only during a narrow, two-week window at the end of a three- or four-year contract. Labor unions often hide these opt-out provisions deep inside wordy contracts,” said Pike. “Other workers remain in unions believing that will advance their careers, unaware that alternative professional organizations provide many of the same services, often with better benefits, at a fraction of the cost of union membership.”

Paul Kersey, the director of labor policy at the Illinois Policy Institute, celebrated labor freedom in a 2014 article, in which he wrote of the significant value of NEFW. “Why is this week so important?” wrote Kersey. “Because no one should feel forced to pay money to a union as a condition of holding a job. Whether you support unions or not, everyone deserves to know what their rights are so they can make a choice that works for them.”

The National Employee Freedom Week website displays alternative options for union members who don’t want to send large chunks of their hard-earned salaries to union bosses. Workers should have the freedom to join a union if they so choose, but they also should be allowed to opt out at any time, whenever they determine the union ceases to represent their interests.

What We’re Working On

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