I attended the meeting and wish to pass on some observations and personal opinions of what happened that evening. There were several union members that spoke out against the ordinance plus representatives from ATP, NMBC, RGF, AFP and several from economic development departments that spoke in favor. The comment section of the meeting was orderly and civil.
Those who spoke for the unions were mostly rank and file long time members and all spoke passionately of all the benefits they received from their union. But here is the odd part – everyone who spoke for the union communicated a fear that this ordinance would kill their union and they would lose their pensions, benefits and health care. This in spite of the fact that there is significant evidence that in some states, union membership actually increased.
The Unions need to understand that times are changing and the old paradigm is not working anymore. The brainwashing of the membership that RTW will take away their high wages, benefits and pensions doesn’t jive with today’s facts. Suing every state or county that implements RTW only costs the tax payers and the union members and enriches the lawyers. Since they almost always lose those court battles, what is the point?
I truly believe that, if unions make their organizations worker-focused and add value to their members post RTW, it will not cause a decline in membership. It makes sense to me that in those states where RTW has been initiated and memberships have grown that the unions have gotten it right and their members see value in their dues. Where memberships have dropped and unions have gone under, my guess is the members saw no value for their dues.
Unions need to consider themselves as businesses and know who their “customers” are and how to meet their needs. RTW is not a threat but an opportunity.