The recent collective bargaining agreement for state workers was deemed a victory for Gov. Paul LePage by this newspaper (“State employees union to vote on dropping mandatory dues in exchange for 6% raise,” Aug. 14). Since the beginning of his administration, the governor has been determined to weaken organized labor.

The “victory” centers around a stipulation in the new agreement that will prohibit the collecting of fair share by the union from non-union members for the services they receive. In short, the union negotiated on behalf of these non-union workers for free. In return the state offered two 3 percent raises, for a total of 6 percent. This opens the door to so-called “right to work.”

Unions are required by federal law to represent all workers in a unit. Under right to work, non-union workers are not required to pay their fair share to the union while they enjoy the benefits of the contract. It is that simple. During many “Labor Lobby” days I have had discussions on this topic with my fellow Republicans. Quite a number of them were under the impression that right to work kept people from being forced to join a union. That misconception confused the issue.

I am sure many workers will opt out of the union now. Why pay for something when you can get it for free? Plus what you save in dues or fair share is another raise.

This thinking will very well lead to the downfall of unions, thus giving Gov. LePage his victory. I just hope the state will continue to give 3 percent raises in the future to its employees. I guess Gov. LePage is a strong advocate for workers receiving free benefits when it fits his agenda.

Ray Moinester


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