In a recent letter to the editor, there was a very good explanation of the Janus v. AFSCME case that is before the U.S. Supreme Court, and I appreciate the explanation to those not familiar with the case.
I take issue with the solution posed at the end of the explanation. The resolution proposed by this letter writer was to have those choosing not to join the union “not be represented by the union and must negotiate their own salary and benefits.” This solution, on its face, may seem very reasonable and acceptable to some. There are several problems with that assumption.
There is much more negotiated in a union contract than “salary and benefits.” Even if that was the starting point, should all employees in workforces be going to management to negotiate their wages and benefits? No pay scales, no seniority, no regular advancement, not allowed to discuss with other employees what they make. Really?
Beyond salary and benefits, there are working conditions. So if a contract lays out rules for picking vacation, but a person who chooses not to be a union member wants a vacation, how does that happen after others who are following the rules of the contract have picked using those negotiated rules?
If a time schedule would have to be developed, say perhaps in a health care setting which is 24/7, and a contract sets fair and equitable rules for how to accomplish that, how does that incorporate the folks who choose not to be union members?
Not least of all, how does that really work when some workers are following negotiated language and grievance resolutions and others are not?
The answer to this issue is that all workers in a union shop pay dues or agency fees to have the benefits provided to them by a negotiated contract. Nothing is better than a union contract. Period.
Ann Converso, RN