John Hubbuch's op-ed [A sad day for the union movement, Viewpoints, July 11] has some elements of truth to it. Hubbuch is partially right on his facts: the need for unions and the way they protected rights of employees was admirable — at the beginning of last century. He's also right that it wasn't just one factor that has led to their diminishing numbers and fading public support.
For unionized employees, it is unfortunate that they are in such a powerless position. But "rapacious capitalists" are not the ones keeping them in check. Members are paying dues that union leaders devote to partisan political expenditures that many members don't support. Meanwhile, union employees rarely have the chance to determine if they want to keep paying dues to the union into which they were hired. On top of that, no union members have the guaranteed right to a secret ballot vote on whether to unionize in the first place or keep their union by recertification.
Our outdated federal labor laws are to blame. The Employee Rights Act (ERA) would deliver the reforms that will empower union members and end the bad practices in unions that have them in such disfavor with their members and the general public. Included among these reforms are protecting employees' paychecks by requiring unions to secure approval before spending dues on politics.
Union households support the ERA: An ORC International poll shows that 79 percent support the ERA's paycheck protection provision and 83 percent favored its secret ballot recertification provision.
So maybe it's a sad day for unions, but unless the ERA is passed, every day is a sad day for their member employees.