Blogger holds a theological degree and a doctorate in Counseling Psychology. Taught Psychology for 32 years and is now Professor Emeritus. Is a board-certified psychologist and was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award in his profession.Ministered as a chaplain, and pastored Baptist and Episcopal churches.Publications cover the integration of psychology and theology.Served in the Army, the Merchant Marines and the Peace Corps.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

After Right-To-Work, 80% of Mich. Health-Care Workers Desert Union

Having won the right to decide for themselves whether to join unions, Michigan workers are opting to desert an organization that many never wanted to join in the first place: the SEIU.
Michigan voters put an end to forced unionization by approving right-to-work in the 2012 election. Republican Gov. Rick Snyder also signed a bill that ended a fraudulent dues-skimming scheme, perpetrated by the SEIU, which had allowed the union to collect $34 million in mandatory dues out of the Medicaid checks of unknowing home-based caregivers.


Teapot Baggins said...

It's called free riding.

Of course people will want the benefits garnered through collective bargaining without having to bear any financial responsibility. That's economics 101. But it's neither a condemnation of unions, nor a sign of support.

Just simple consumer behavior when faced with a commonly shared good.

Sarkazein said...

Teapot- It's called free choice. 80% is "consumer behavior"... consumers wanting to be free of corruption in the unions. Free of having to miss work while walking in circles carrying signs and chanting primary school cheers.
The only "choice" Teapot liberals like is abortion.

A Teapot Named Desire said...

Sarkazein - First, I never mentioned "liberals" or "abortion." My comment did not concern partisan politics, it dealt with behavior. So we can easily dispel those redirections.

Second, I'm glad that you agree with me on the consumer behavior idea, but you may be looking in the wrong direction.

The way in which collective bargaining works is in a common-good fashion. The spoils of negotiation between unions and management are shared by all employees. Thus, if an employee is no longer required to pay into the common good but will still receive said good, there is no incentive to pay the union fee.

If the refusal to now pay into a union is, as you claim, to stand against corruption and labor strikes, then we would've observed this behavior earlier than now. Workers would have simply avoided union jobs to begin with if they truly disagreed with the tactics.

Simply put, if you don't agree with union tactics and behaviors, then you don't take a union job. But if you enjoy the results of collective bargaining and have the option of paying a fee to the union (which no longer determines whether you receive said benefits) probably won't pay.

It's neither a condemnation of unions nor a sign of support. Just simple consumer behavior when faced with a commonly shared good.

Sarkazein said...

Teapot- The term "free rider" is a political term as well as an economic term. It is a derogatory term used to describe, in this case, non-union individuals- those who desire to not be part of the collectivism of the unions.
To use the term "free rider" assumes only collectivism can raise pay and benefits. The "free riders" are those who are capable of work but collect welfare and disability. A number increasing rapidly under this Democrat administration.
The individual who choses not to be part of historically corrupt unions is no "free rider" except for in the union handbook. "Scab" can be the same thing.
Would you agree todays "free riders" are those able bodied people who will not work.

Sarkazein said...

Teapot you wrote- "Workers would have simply avoided union jobs..."

And now they can.

George Ehrhardt said...

Teapot, that logic only applies if the union is negotiating a common contract that all will share in (the "common good"). That is not obviously the case here.

The closest thing to that would be SEIU lobbying the government for higher Medicaid payments (some of which may flow to the home-care workers), but even that is a stretch, because the SEIU lobbies for many other things that the home-care workers may not care about, or even oppose (i.e. Sark's comment). Especially if the latter, or if they aren't sure what their money will go to, then union membership is not a "common good," it is a "common bad."

Additionally, in this case, any possible "common goods" (granting the dubious assumption that people value the full range of SEIU lobbying for the sake of argument) are so attenuated that it may be collectively (not just individually) rational for the workers as a whole to not pay for the "common good." This is quite different from workers in a factory where there is a direct connetion between the union and their salary.

BTW, we do actually have plenty of evidence of workers avoiding union jobs (such as the recent failure to unionize VW). That's why unions lobby so hard to make it illegal for them to avoid union jobs.

Sarkazein said...

Teapot- The Michigan voters, their legislators and their governor passed the right to work law just to save a few bucks on union dues? They are just consumers. Mindless consumers. Liberals hate the individual. They demean their actions with comments like- "... there is no incentive to pay the union fee". No, there is no longer a law forcing them. Choice. Freedom.

guy faulkes said...

Teapot, I have several comments about your post.

Collective bargaining has not been a common good behavior for years. Unions are big business in which the object is to increase the power and payments to the officer;s of the unions.

Workers were forced to join unions in order to get work, not because they wanted to be in a union.

There is no such thing as a union job. Jobs should be open to anyone that wants to apply for them and employers should be free to hire those they choose.

Unions forcing the cost of labor to exceed its value is a major cause of the loss of jobs.

Sarkazein said...

The "Common Good"

A Tale of Two Teapots said...

Sarkazein - Yes, the term "free rider" has been adopted by political commentators and used (on both sides) as a derogatory term. I, however, am using it in a strictly economic sense and I made that abundantly clear. So, again, labeling "liberals", or the like, is completely unnecessary.

"Free riders" are simply those who receive a benefit without paying towards the cost of said benefit. End of story. In this case, it happens to be workers receiving union-negotiated labor benefits without contributing via union dues.

Mr. Ehrhardt - I enjoyed your comment, and I will gladly admit that I am not an expert of SEIU's inner workings or specific negotiated benefits.

However, a union (broadly speaking) negotiates, on behalf of the workers, for labor benefits. Although there are individual cases of workers voting-down unionization (which is not part of the discussion here), the research shows that unionized workers enjoy better work hours, higher wages, and more robust benefits. Thus, we can assume that union-negotiated labor benefits are a commonly shared good within the group.

From your comment, I might safely assume some knowledge of the subject. Thus, I will direct you towards the definition of a common good. It is rivalrous, but non-excludable. In the case of labor unions, the labor benefits are, clearly, common goods.

It is rivalrous given that it is limited to the workers within the union. There are only X number of positions within each employer. Therefore, the consumption of the labor benefits (i.e.: a job position) reaches a congestion point (i.e.: no more available jobs at that employment site). The benefits are, however, non-excludable. Once part of the union, the worker will enjoy the benefits without exclusion, including ability to pay.

My comment concerns the timing of the behavior. If workers despised unions in the first place (as Sarkazein assumes), unions would have have been voted-down in that population of workers (Michigan health care workers). Or, Michigan health care jobs would be terribly difficult to fill, as workers would not want to join the union. We have seen, however, that some workers do not want to pay union dues once given the choice....but after receiving the labor benefits from union negotiations.

The causation is in the timing......that's my whole point.

Guy - you seem a bit lost in your partisan rhetoric. Please see above.

***It should be noted, though, that the article (linked) states that it is a handful of home-health care workers that are now refusing to pay into the union. The cited number of workers (44,000) comprise approximately 1/10th of the health care workforce in Michigan. So, while this provides a great topic of discussion, it is hardly "80% of Michigan Health Care Workers."

Sarkazein said...

Teapot you wrote- " If workers despised unions in the first place (as Sarkazein assumes),..."
I never wrote that. People wanted choice. Yes there is more than just the choice to kill your pre-born.

One thing I have realized since commenting on this blog is the fact liberals cannot be honest. Your screen name is "Teapot Baggins", the first one on this thread, and you wrote later- "My comment did not concern partisan politics...". Liberals cannot be honest. Also not used as a derogatory term? Clever you are not. Embrace your liberalism and try to realize there is more to the word choice.

More and more people are realizing the unions are one of the biggest causes of offshore outsourcing. A result of your "common good".

Of Mice and Teapots said...

Mr. Sarkazein, you entire premise rests upon the notion that workers do not like (i.e.: "despise") unions in the first place.

You statement, "consumers [want] to be free of corruption in the unions" speaks directly to your narrative. Unfortunately, the evidence does not point towards your idea. The observed behavior is clearly due to free-ridership. Workers are not quitting their jobs or avoiding union jobs....they're simply not paying towards the received benefits. Easy Econ 101 material.

But it is quite evident that any rational discourse will certainly fall on your deaf ears. In your haste to create a political argument, you miss the broader discussion. I clearly indicated that my comment had no underlying political agenda. I also clearly stated that the term "free-rider" was being employed as an economics term, not a derogatory political term. I also asked that you dispel with the "liberals and abortion" schtick, as neither of those were a topic of discussion. You failed on all fronts.

As for my pseudonym, you might note that it has taken a literary theme as well. You have branded me a "liberal", but have not attempted to label me as a bibliophile. Snap judgements and superficial labels are often dangerous, and typically useless.

You last comment on this thread were simply ad hominem attacks. You did not engage in meaningful discussion of the topic at hand. As such, I assume that you have reached the end of your intellectual road and, instead of discussion, can only muster personal insult.

And because of that, I say goodnight to you good sir.

Sarkazein said...

Teapot- You use of the word you is quite unusual. But I will not label you in you use of the word.

Your wrote- " The observed behavior is clearly due to free-ridership. Workers are not quitting their jobs or avoiding union jobs....they're simply not paying towards the received benefits."

In a state with no right to work laws, it is quite difficult to avoid union shops. Now, these tightwads you speak of, have a choice. A true liberal cannot appreciate the freedom of economic choice. This goes hand-in-hand with liberals not appreciating the school voucher system. It is a characteristic of the liberal mind.

It is your, in fact, who cannot move from the derogatory use of the term "free-rider". It, perhaps, does not seem derogatory to you because liberalism is based on real free-rider/free-loader lifestyles.

Your assume the cheapskates are also ignorant and unaware of the union's history of corruption and negative outcomes regarding US manufacturing data.

Sarkazein said...

Teapot- Your should read THIS

The citizens who pushed through The-Right-To-Work probably didn't know about it. They were all so small they only thought about the union dues they were avoiding.

guy faulkes said...

Teapot, just which group am I being partisan in support of?

Sarkazein said...

Teapot wrote- ". In your haste to create a political argument..."

He ran off when he finally realized he was on a political blog site. He must have thought he was on a vocabulary blog site.

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