Liano Sharon has been a progressive activist since the 1980s. Liano currently serves as Chair of the City of Ypsilanti Human Relations Commission, and as a delegate to the Democratic National Committee representing Michigan. He is also a founding organizer at misolidarity.org.
Corporations are collective bargaining units for their shareholders. Shareholders invest their money in the corporation and hire a bargaining unit team leader (CEO) and a team (board of directors) who then negotiate everything on behalf of the shareholders – stock, land, materials, services, utilities, and labor contracts.
Unions are collective bargaining units for their shareholders (members). Shareholders invest their money (dues) and time (labor) in the union, and hire a collective bargaining unit that negotiates everything on behalf of the shareholders (members) – stock, land, materials, services, utilities, and labor contracts.
A corporation and a union are both collective bargaining units for their shareholders/members. Shareholders in corporations are protected by the law against freeloaders – people who want the benefits of shareholding, but don’t want to put in the money. Shareholders in unions are explicitly denied the same protections – under so-called “right to work” laws, unions aren’t protected from freeloaders, they’re required to allow freeloaders.
The difference between how collective bargaining units for the owning class are protected from freeloaders under law while collective bargaining units for the working class are forced to accept freeloaders is an example of wealthism.
Wealthism is the belief that wealth entitles the wealthy to power over other people. Wealthists believe the owning class are entitled to exclude freeloaders from their unions (corporations). Wealthists also believe the working class must be forced to allow freeloaders in their unions.
It’s time to treat collective bargaining the same across the board.
To ensure everyone is treated fairly and equally under the law, any state with a “right to work” law encouraging workers to freeload on unions must enact a “right to profit” law that encourages shareholders to freeload on corporations. Anyone who wants to be a shareholder gets to be a first-class shareholder entitled to all the profits that come with holding first-class shares, except the right to vote at shareholder meetings. Just like under “right to work” laws anyone can have all the benefits of shareholding in a labor union (contracts negotiated by collective bargaining), but doesn’t pay dues or get to vote on union business.
Forcing freeloaders on unions of working people while strictly forbidding them in unions of owning people is part of a deliberate wealthist strategy to undermine solidarity among labor unions members and serve the interests of the owning class in their war against the working class. It has nothing to do with freedom, fairness, or having a “right to work”. It’s just a strategy in the class war to further enslave the working class.
A real right to work for a thriving wage and benefits under good working conditions is called a government jobs guarantee, provided the working class has democratic control of the government.
Please show your support for Michigan Progressive by supporting us on Patreon, joining our YouTube channel, liking and following our Facebook page, or subscribing to our podcast, State of the Revolution: RSS | Spotify | Apple Podcasts | Stitcher | Google Play | Pocket Casts | Patreon. Any of these really help us reach more people and produce more content. If you’re interested in writing, audio/visual production, or would like to help out in some other way, get in touch directly: Liano at michiganprogressive.com.
We win this fight together, or not at all.