Northwest NEWS

April 15, 2002

Editorial

Workers should be able to make their own decision about union membership

Right now in Washington state workers are being denied a basic right of choice. Laborers from both the private and public sectors lack the freedom to withhold their membership from unions. Adoption of a Right to Work law in Washington state would give workers that freedom. Employees would no longer pay dues under threat of firing.
   Forcing workers to belong to and fund unions is not only unconstitutional but also detrimental to the local economy. Nearly 80 percent of Americans support the implementation of Right to WorklLaws.
   When laws are changed to allow workers the freedom of choice, state economies and individual worker's salaries flourish. Research based on Right to Work laws adopted in other states shows marked success. Our close neighbor, Idaho, has enjoyed exceptional industry growth since the enactment of a Right to Work law in 1986. Since that year, manufacturing employment in Idaho has increased by 39.6 percent, while Washington's manufacturing jobs have increased by a meager 9.5 percent.
   An initiative filed earlier this year would bring choice to the workplace. Private sector workers, as well as all state employees, such as teachers, would be able to make their own decision involving union membership. I-777 is a Right to Work initiative, allowing the working women and men of Washington to choose their representation.
   To learn more about the initiative, visit www.for777.org.
   Rachel Smith, Policy Director for I-777 campaign committee