Indeed, labor leaders should not fear voluntary membership. If their talents for securing higher wages, richer pensions, and cozier working conditions are truly as impressive as advertised, Americans should line up to sign up. If, however, unions must dragoon workers into their ranks, why should government allow or even mandate such bondage?
Last October, pollster Frank Luntz surveyed 760 private- and public-sector unionized employees. Eighty percent agreed that union membership and dues should be optional. (Error margin: +/− 3.7 percent.) Hence, the NRTWA is good policy and good politics — if only Republicans and free-marketeers would promote it.
Today’s union bosses may dismiss the NRTWA as a right-wing plot. But they should recognize that it reflects the philosophy of a pioneer union boss.
None other than Samuel Gompers, founder of the American Federation of Labor, once wisely said: “I want to urge devotion to the fundamentals of human liberty — the principles of voluntarism. No lasting gain has ever come from compulsion. If we seek to force, we but tear apart that which, united, is invincible.”
— New York commentator Deroy Murdock is a nationally syndicated columnist with the Scripps Howard News Service and a media fellow with the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace at Stanford University.