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Labor Day: State Of The Unions

Written By: Asha McKenzie
Labor Day: State of The Unions


STATEWIDE (WENY) - Labor Day is a celebration that was first promoted by two labor unions back in the early 1800s.
     Labor Union membership in the United States makes up just over 11%. But in New York State, It's more than twice that size and it's growing.
     24.4% and It's the highest in the Nation. With close to 2 million union members, New York State is well above the nation's average of a little more than 11%.
     So what exactly does a labor union provide for its members?
     "Right now, anyone could be fired because I don't like the way you look today," said Pete Meyers, Director of Tompkins County Workers' Center. "It's called At Will employment. New York Is an At Will employment state. In a union setting you have to be fired for just cause."
     Meyers works with local unions to organize workplaces; Pushing for higher pay and work security.
     But he is well aware many don't agree with the idea but he says those organized in a union make 35% more.
     "So even if you have to pay union fees it's probably not going to be more than $15, $20 more and if you're making 100 more dollars it doesn't make any sense why you wouldn't want to be in the union," said Meyers.
     And because New York is not a Right To Work State, people who work at union shops, who may not want to join the union, are still forced to pay dues and fees... Both Part time and Full time.
     "Millions of Americans are still compelled to pay dues or fees to union officials as a condition of getting or keeping a job," said Mark Mix, President of Right to work. "And millions more workers are required by law to except a unions, so called representation even if they would rather negotiate with an employer on their own merits."
     According to Mark Mix of the National Right to work, union officials spend billions of dollars of worker's dues on politics, whether the worker agrees with the issues or the politicians the unions support. 
     Members of National Right To Work are pushing for an act that would make union dues and fees voluntary nationwide.