The Corner

Right-to-Work: Unconservative?

Michael Kinsley has far less standing to make this case than Reason’s J. D. Tuccille has to make the case that right-to-work is unlibertarian, but he gives it a shot.

Unsurprisingly, he dwells on the free-rider problem that right-to-work creates without noting that unions have a way around it, and makes freedom-of-contract arguments that neglect the surrounding context created by the National Labor Relations Act.

To be sure, there are problems with right-to-work laws from a libertarian or conservative perspective. They should not be our ultimate goal. But that’s because the NLRA gives states no good options when it comes to labor policy. The ultimate conservative or libertarian solution is repeal of the act — but that will not happen in the foreseeable future, and right-to-work laws are better than the alternative in the meantime.

As I’ve written several times before: The federal government gives unions the right, after a majority vote, to negotiate on behalf of all workers. Workers who don’t even want this shouldn’t have to pay for it.


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