The Sussex County Council appears to be on the way toward a decision on a right to work ordinance after a raucous meeting.
The Cape Gazette did a good job in reporting the meeting, with a balanced assortment of comments from all sides. That does not always happen in media coverage that often focuses on he loudest voices.
The ordinance would bar unions from collecting dues from workers who benefit from labor agreements, but choose not to pay. The legality of such an ordinance remains unclear. One county in Kentucky was able to get a favorable ruling in U.S. Circuit Court.
Indeed, we seem to have three sides to this story – support, opposition and those who wonder if this crusade is worth the trouble.
The union forces were in the majority in and around the meeting this week, based on press accounts. That comes as no surprise, since organized labor fights such proposals tooth and nail on the belief that the lack of mandatory dues further tilts the playing field.
Right to work supporters argue that the lack of a right to work law limits the freedom of workers.
Some also wonder if the law of unintended consequences could be in play here. An ordinance could conceivably lead to more rather than less union activity. There is also the worry that the ordinance could lead to a perception of labor unrest.
Supporters say the law will add jobs in the county, pointing to job growth in right to work states. The biggest problem facing Sussex and the Eastern Shore, in general, is the decline of blue-collar jobs with good pay.
Would right to work help? Supporters say it wouldn’t hurt.
Next week, the Sussex council could decide to roll the dice, a decision to pass the ordinance would make national news and possibly trigger a court battle. – Doug Rainey, publisher