National Right to Work President Hits SD Mailboxes with Bogus Stats to Fight IM 23

Anti-union forces are hitting South Dakota mailboxes with their first pitch against Initiated Measure 23, the fair-share union dues proposal. An eager reader forwards this flyer funded by South Dakotans for Freedom and Jobs, one of three ballot question committees formed to oppose IM 23. South Dakotans for Freedom and Jobs appears to have more non-South Dakotans involved than non-South Dakotans: its chair, Rich Hilgemann, is a Brown County GOP official, but its treasurer, Robert Beiswenger, lists a Des Moines UPS Store as his address on the committee’s statement of organization but works in Indiana and runs the Indiana Right to Work Committee.

The man purportedly sending the letter (and the fundraising pitch, and the four postcards he wants you to send to friends to exhort them to oppose “forced unionism”) is a Washington Beltway lobbyist with Koch Brother connections:

Excerpt from anti-IM 23 letter, received by DFP reader mid-September 2016.
Excerpt from anti-IM 23 letter, received by DFP reader mid-September 2016.

Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Committee and Legal Defense Foundation, has his office right on the southwest edge of I-495, twenty minutes from Capitol Hill. Mix gets paid $183,976 a year to tell people around the country that unions are bad. Mix’s outfit was one of numerous parties to Friedrichs v. California, the case in which our Thune-locked U.S. Supreme Court let stand fair-share union dues and kept IM 23 in play.

The core statistical claim of Mix’s missive, repeated on the cards recipients can stamp send to friends (Hi, Grandma! Kids are great, but unions stink!) is that “private sector employment jumped over 11% in the last decade in South Dakota—twice as much as forced-unionism states.” Mix is, of course, asserting that correlation equals causation. According to the August 23, 2016, State Economic Snapshots from the Congressional Joint Economic Committee, since December 2007, before the recession, South Dakota’s private-sector employment has grown 7.7%, compared to  a national average of 5.4%. Using Mix’s NRTW list of “right to work” versus “forced unionism” states and including District of Columbia, the 26 “right to work” states saw private sector job growth of 6.05%, while the 24 other states plus D.C. saw 5.25% job growth. The actual statistical correlation between private-sector job growth rates and “right to work” status is 0.0004—practically nil. Mix can’t cite a rigorous statistical correlation, let alone the causation that his postcard text implies.


61 Responses to National Right to Work President Hits SD Mailboxes with Bogus Stats to Fight IM 23

  1. Ben Cerwinske

    I’m supporting IM 23 because unions are required to represent non-union members. You can’t have your cake and eat it too.

  2. Don Coyote

    @Ben Cerwinske: Wrong, wrong and wrong. In Consolidated Edison vs National Labor Relations Board (1938), the Supreme Court held that the National Labor Relations Act allows for unions to negotiate “members’ only” contracts that apply only to dues paying members. It is only when union leadership asserts exclusivity that they become legally bound to negotiate for non-members. This is a problem of the unions own making and non-members shouldn’t be penalized by being coerced to support unions against their wishes.

  3. Don Coyote

    @cah: “…the case in which our Thune-locked U.S. Supreme Court let stand fair-share union dues”

    This case was argued before Scalia had died and the fact that the Senate has refused to schedule hearings for Judge Garland’s nomination would not have altered the decision in Friedrichs vs California. Garland was nominated only 2 weeks before the Supreme Court handed down it’s decision. Even if Garland had been confirmed (highly unlikely since it takes about 6-8 weeks for Senate confirmation) he would not have taken part in the decision since he had missed oral argumentation.

  4. mike from iowa

    and non-members shouldn’t be penalized by being coerced into accepting higher wages and benefits they didn’t pay to get. Fixed it for you.

  5. mike your the man

  6. The middle class is shrinking, middle and lower class wages are stagnant and it is directly tied to the deliberate and malicious attack on unions.

    At the same time, corporate profits and the stock market have hit record highs. On who’s backs?

    Is there a correlation? Who benefits the most. (Insert Voodoo economics here)

    My tax dollars have been spent lavishly on recruiting companies on the back of low wages, who’s benefited from that? Heck, is it fair that I spend my tax dollars on low wage job recruitment?

    What happens to an economy when wages go up?

  7. owen reitzel

    Ben you are right, right, right. I’ve seen it. My wife is a member of SDEA and the contact that her and others SEAD members at her school negotiate are given to non-members as well.
    It’s not fair and the so-called “Right to Work” laws are BS.
    They are right to work for less!!!!

  8. Coyote: SCOTUS is Thune-locked. SCOTUS let stand fair-share dues in Friedrichs. My sentence is true.

    Problem of the unions’ making? Why can’t employers fix the problem by refusing to extend the contracts they negotiate with the unions to non-union members? If there’s no legal requirement, why don’t employers try to cut costs by negotiating separate contracts with non-union workers?

  9. And, suddenly, it’s clear to me. I now understand all I need to know about IM23. Thank you Cory! and everyone who commented! I am 100% confident that IM23 is a good measure.

    MUCH APPRECIATED

  10. Steve Parsons

    Unions here do not back teachers if they aren’t part of the Union. The “Union” does squat and doesn’t even negotiate the pay. IM 23 is FORCED dues.

  11. Don, I believe your analysis is wrong when dealing with a collective bargaining unit. The union must represent ALL members of the recognized bargaining unit. Individuals cannot be excluded from a collective bargaining unit.

    Collective bargaining takes a look at employment in a way that is crucial to eliminating sex/race/ethnic . . . discrimination.

  12. Error, Steve: in every public school where I have worked, I have received a contract under the terms negotiated by the union, even though I did not belong to the union. I did not enjoy other benefits of union membership, but I did enjoy those contracts.

  13. Cory,

    First, seriously – not a member, WTH?
    Second, I was not clear. I didn’t mean to say that all members of a collective bargaining unit were union members, I mean to say that they are all, ALL, members of the collective bargaining unit. Membership in that unit obligates the union (as the recognized representative) to negotiate for all members of the group – union member and non-member alike. (as well as work on grievances and other services). Certainly non-members do not enjoy all union benefits (professional development and training done by the union for example), but they do all share in the work done by the union (funded by union member funds exclusively) on their behalf for contract negotiation and other workplace issues related to the maintaining and defending the contract.

  14. My error, I thought Cory’s reply was to my post. I did not realize that he was replying to Steve Parsons’ post.

    Cory is right; Steve is wrong about the negotiating salaries for all teachers.

  15. (No problem, O! I understand and regret the confusion. I was indeed responding to Steve Parsons. We must have been typing simultaneously… or I might have had an old window open and thus didn’t see your comment before you jumped in!)

  16. Joe Nelson

    Cory,

    As you support IM 23, can we safely assume that you paid the union for their services when they negotiated your contract? Or perhaps that you will reach out to them now, and offer them compensation for services rendered? With interest, of course ;)

    Or, perhaps more seriously, does IM 23 allow them to charge for services done prior to now? Can the teacher union send you a bill for all those times it negotiated for you? Or does IM 23 only apply for services rendered after it passes?

  17. Joe, in years past, I was one of the “freeloaders”. I assume IM 23 as no retroactive clause. If SDEA does send me a retrospective bill, I’ll post it here.

  18. Ben Cerwinske

    Steve, I was given an 80 cent raise this year (I’m an aide) as a result of a union negotiated contract even though I wasn’t a part of the union. I’m going to join this year. Ideally, one would not have to pay the union unless the wanted to. But ideally, the union shouldn’t have to support non-members. As long as they are legally required to support non-members, then required dues to support contract negotiations seems fair.

  19. Joe Nelson

    A thought has occurred to me, after reading “Novstrups Rig Ride Regs”, which identifies how there is ambiguity in where to send documentation:

    2014 HB 1168 included no enforcement, not even a clear statement of where amusement ride operators are supposed to send their proof of insurance and inspection documentation.

    The language of IM 23 does not get very specific with its language in many regards. With such ambiguity, what are all of your thoughts on the union charging the service fee……to the employer instead of the employee? I reckon that the union is doing the employer a service by negotiating the contract of the employer’s employees, so couldn’t they bill the employer?

  20. Mr. Nelson, if that IM 23 socialist law passes, would you like me to send the bill for “grudznick, INC” services to you or your employer?

  21. Joe Nelson

    grudznick,
    You can send it through my clearing house in Aberdeen, care of Cory Heidelberger :) Also, you can call me Joe, free of charge.

  22. Indeed I shall, Joe, and Mr. H will no doubt be clearing a lot of bills for organizations that provide services that some people don’t want but for which they shall be forced to pay.

  23. “Right to work” in SD has as much intent to mislead and spin as does Lisa Furlong’s “18% rate cap”. Does republican AG Jackley any duty to police/enforce election law?

  24. Joe Nelson

    Cory, my wife brought up an interesting point/idea, somewhat in the form of a question. Feel free to answer, or not, as you see fit. Your answer may be personal in nature, and if so, I will not encroach any further.

    If for so many years, you were not a part of the teacher union, why not? Are you a part of the teacher union now? I am not sure if you are still in the business of teaching at the local public schools (either as a sub or full-time). If you are currently a member, what changed your mind to join? If still not a member, why not join as a member?

  25. Joe, interesting point about the ambiguity. One could argue that unions provide a service to the employer by conducting collective bargaining on behalf of all employees, thus sparing the employer the hassle of having to conduct 50 or 100 or 500 separate negotiations. But as an employee, I might see a conflict of interest in having my boss pay my negotiator.

    Joe, I was not part of SDEA when I started teaching because one mentor I held in high regard did not belong, saying SDEA capitulated too easily to Janklow’s agenda. I also felt the stakes were too low: I felt the whole negotiations process was a lot of sweat over peanuts that the school board could ultimately decide unilaterally, union be darned, thanks to South Dakota’s anti-labor laws. Really, I was just too busy, not to mention young, selfish, and unpolitically aware.

  26. Joe Nelson

    “young, selfish, and unpolitically aware”? Say it ain’t so! You are certainly older, less-selfish, and politically aware now. And maybe now they do not capitulate to state government so easily? Were you teaching last year? Do you think your time in the union was worth the dues, or was it still a lot of sweat over peanuts? I tried finding out how much dues are (if you do not mind sharing what you had to pay). I got lost trying to distinguish between NEA, SDEA, and what appears to be local teacher unions.

  27. So much of the discussion has focused on the financial implications on the pro side of 23 – the payment of services provided (currently for free for non-union members at the expense of paying union members) that one implication that I see as far more important has been left out: participation. Currently it is far too easy for so many workers to sit out any thought or action surrounding negotiations or many other workplace issues. If workers were financially vested in some way to the process, the real effect would be a heightened level of concern about and participation in these issues. Paying for something makes people more feel a stake in participating in that work. The real success of 1182 was the heightened participation of teachers in the political process (and that heightened participation is what lead to the political success of that issue – a cycle). If SD had a workforce that was willing to focus on, talk about, and work for the success of professional concerns, I think a lot could change for the better. “The 1%” win because there is no organized opposing force – too many on the other side are sitting the fight out. Forcing a financial investment in the process draws voices, too long silent, into the fray to make real change.

    Those who oppose 23 aren’t so much looking out for the freedom of the “little guy,” they are trying their best not to wake a sleeping giant that is not happy with the economics of their situation. Unions are where the disenfranchised ought to be looking to solutions – not alt-Right hate mongers who are only using their frustration to prop up the very people who caused the strife in the first place.

    Unions created and secure the middle class. It is clear who profits from the country’s middle class decline.

    We have met the enemy . . .

  28. mike from iowa

    There is an amazing disconnect in workers who can’t figure out how much better their wages,benefits and working conditions were when unions were stronger and not being dismantled by right wing nut jobs and their koch bros owners.

    Workers never had it so good and never will again because they are too stoopid to figure this out. Meanwhile all workplace protections are being lost while workers stand around with a finger in their nose.

  29. mike from iowa

    Remember the “Twinkie” strike. Management closed down Twinkies because they siphoned all the money to pay their exhorbitant wages and then blamed the union.

  30. mike from iowa

    One last thing-iowa is a right to work state and yet, DAPL is bragging about all the union labor they hired to install the pipeline in iowa. All the labor is union and I am pretty sure iowa doesn’t have many union qualified pipeline workers in state.

  31. Steve Parson

    No, you are wrong. The contract or pay is NOT negotiated by the union in South Dakota. I saw through an SDEA meeting and they stated that fact.

  32. Joe Nelson

    Another thought; doesn’t South Dakota have a fairly robust teacher’s union? If this is the case, why are teachers paid so poorly? Or can the argument be made that things would be worse without the unions? I do not think unions are all bad, I am just curious as to the benefits of the teachers union. I would love to hear from Cory, or any other reader, on how the union has benefited them as a member, despite the lowest wages in the country (not sure if this includes Puerto Rico or Guam).

  33. Darin Larson

    Steve Parson– At our local school, the union negotiates for all the certified teachers. I think you misunderstood.

  34. Joe Nelson

    Steve,
    If the SDEA does not negotiate contracts, do they at least handle disputes? I am curious as to what federally mandated services SDEA provides, if not contract negotiation. Not that IM 23 limits fees to federally mandated services, SDEA can charge fees for any service they provide (let us say, at random, the offering of the “First Years, Great Career: The New Teachers’ Guide”)

    Unfortunately, the SDEA website does not have a page that lists all the benefits and services it provides, at least not one accessible to the public.

  35. Darin Larson

    Joe– I don’t think that many people would characterize SD’s teacher’s union as “robust.” At our local school, I think less than 20% of teachers are union members. More teachers need to become union members. Part of the problem, as I think Cory mentioned, is that state law makes the teacher’s union almost powerless.

    Maybe you were not intending to rip on the SDEA for SD having the lowest wages in the country (formerly), but when state law is written to make the union powerless, you can hardly blame the union. The answer is to change state law.

  36. Joe Nelson

    Darin,
    I was not trying to rip SDEA or any such thing, I am just curious to the benefits of joining the union. If I were a teacher, but joining SDEA would not help negotiate higher wages, then why would I want to join? What laws need to be changed? What laws are on the books that make unions powerless? And not to harp on teacher pay as the only important metric, but how will IM 23 affect change to put more money in teachers pockets? At face value, it would appear to take money out of teacher’s pockets.

  37. Steve Parson

    And SDEA does NOT represent you in disputes either unless you are part of the Union. If you aren’t part of the Union in SD you do not get those benefits.

    Plus, teachers supposedly received a raise recently (I can only speak for Sioux Falls) but in SF Public they did give raises BUT teachers have more hours on their contract now. So no pay raise…

    The measure is BS. It’s Minnesota Unions and Big Labor trying to force a Right to Work State into mandatory dues.

  38. Steve, if the local union (which is an affiliate of SDEA/NEA) is the recognized representative for the collective bargaining unit, it negotiates the contract. Nobody else can negotiate if that recognition exists. I believe that covers the vast majority of schools in SD. What school do you believe has a local association and does not bargain? To be clear: in my school, and every school I know, this is the case. I speak now through first-hand experience.

    Joe, “robust” is relative. 1182 showed “robust” membership through the activity of those members – not just a gross number. Salaries are a function of state funding and that was powerfully addressed last session where SD was fortunate to achieve a tipping point to move toward the success for SD students in our public schools.

  39. Uh, Steve P, I know that about SDEA. So do the backers of IM 23. They are talking about fair-share dues for collective bargaining services only. At no point have I argued that SDEA send send lawyers to represent every teacher and send non-union teachers a bill. I’d even argue that, under IM 23, if a teacher declined to accept the union’s services as contract negotiator, and if the law allows the union not to include that teacher in its bargaining, and if the school board is willing to offer separate negotiation sessions for non-union individual employees, then sure, don’t assess those maverick teachers fair-share union dues for services not rendered.

  40. SteveP: “And SDEA does NOT represent you in disputes either unless you are part of the Union”

    Half-right at best. This has to be put in context. If the dispute is a dispute about contract/work issues, there is a duty of fair representation (another gift of right-to-work) for the union. There is a limit to how much help non-members get – such as access to legal representation. If you need to lawyer-up, non-members will probably foot that bill personally.

  41. Steve Parson

    I wish teachers could negotiate on their own. That way a excellent teacher that is wanted and needed can get paid more but you Union lovers want fairness. What a load of crap. Teachers should not be paid the same.

  42. Steve Parson

    Where was the Union when the pay raise only turned into more hours worked?

  43. Steve, do not long for “the good old days” of individual negotiations that allowed blacks to be paid less than whites or women were allowed to be paid less than men or friends of the superintendent were paid more than those not in the “old-boys network.” Collective bargaining means that the JOB is the focus: that is that job worth no matter what qualified person takes it (and yes, they must be qualified – unions are the strongest advocates for quality and licenses). Teachers are paid more for more education, more experience, National Teacher Certification . . . contracts certainly differentiate, but in ways that are fair and measurable and within the ability of the teacher to achieve.

  44. Steve Parson

    Paying the same across the board for teachers is a load of absolute cow crap and you know it. Schools are run by the government.

    A Math teacher deserves to be paid more than a Gym Teacher. And so on. Unions are the strongest advocates for one thing only. Themselves and paying for the Democratic party.

  45. Steve, good to see when the misinformation you spout is corrected, you are willing to fly full-on into attack mode.

    1. We have established that teachers are NOT all paid the same across the board.
    2. Some children go to school because of the positive influence of a single teacher; a single teacher can put a child on the path of success, and that teacher might be a PE teacher. We all teach children. Exactly how much less is an English teacher worth compared to a Math teacher in your world? Want to quantify that or just throw around vague generalizations?
    3. Unions ARE their members, “themselves” is plural and inclusive. Unions are not some unattached entity.
    4. Also, the history of union advocacy in education shows great work toward student success: advances in recruiting and retain good teachers so STUDENTS succeed; trying to get things like nurses and librarians to help students; advocating for special education services for students . . . all things that the union has won for our students.
    5. Schools are FUNDED by the government (through taxation); they are run by the citizens of each local community through an elected school board. I would certainly prefer that model over some faceless corporation running schools to turn each child into a resource to be squeezed for profit.

  46. Steve Parson

    Teachers are paid the same across the board. I don’t mean nationwide so I’ll clarify that but year 3 teacher in Sioux Falls makes the same no matter the subject. That should be eliminated.

    Your comments are tired. You make corporations out to be faceless when in reality they are full of face people. You generalize your beliefs on that but I’m not stating schools should be corporations. But I do think a teacher should be able to negotiate on their own behalf because clearly Unions aren’t doing it. They also support Dems with their dues instead of what they should be doing. It is the Democrats solutions to corporate donors but what everyday Dems don’t realize is those “faceless” corporations you despise so much are giving to your candidates just as much and are controlling them while they give you talk. HRC is the epitomy of it.

    But again I have digressed. A Math teacher should be paid more than a gym teacher. Teachers should be paid more and I’d pay more in taxes for that. I don’t like paying taxes for worthless programs with no value. For every dollar spent in government there should be a required return on investment.

  47. Steve Parson

    You haven’t seen attack mode. If my replies are attack mode then you are too touchy.

  48. mike from iowa

    I don’t like paying taxes for worthless programs with no value. For every dollar spent in government there should be a required return on investment.

    We can agree that wingnut pols aren’t worth paying, right?

  49. Steve, what Democrat was supported by the union over a pro-education Republican? What “worthless program” in education is wasting your tax dollars now?

    Government, our elected officials, are “the full face of the people. The Constitution begins, “We the people . . .” Corporations answer to the shareholders and only in the language of profit.

    I measure “return on investment” in student success; how do you measure it? This again seems like the creeping language of the corporate “reformer.”

  50. Darin Larson

    Steve Parsons- you keep making statements that are wrong, you get called on it and then you move on to your next ignorant statement. I’ll add to your list of ignorant statements. At our school and many others, the math and science teachers receive more money than the other teachers. This is a function of the scarce supply of science and math teachers. The math teacher is paid more than the gym teacher.

    Next ignorant rant?

  51. Steve Parson

    What school is that?

  52. mike from iowa

    http://tinyurl.com/hqxwe4e

    You can add unions to the wingnut redneck’s spiel.

  53. Notice one thing about Steve P’s rhetoric: the line “and you know it” is not only absurd (how can one person claim to know with authority what another person “knows”?) but also serves to support the perhaps unstated accusation that the person he disagrees with is a liar.

    We do not believe that fair pay for teachers is “absolute cow crap” (here invoking absolutism, as if his argument is unassailable, not subject to debate). We believe exactly what we are saying, which disagrees with your beliefs. Saying, “You know what I”m saying is true” doesn’t advance the argument; it only reinforces your belief that you’ve already won the argument… which O’s reasoned responses show you has not happened yet.

    So maybe you should engage that “attack mode,” Steve P. Ooooo, I’m so excited to see you bring your real arguments.

  54. Steve Parson

    You hide behind your rhetoric and big words. Rather than get into a long debate I’d prefer you just own up to what the measure is and just admit it. It’s forced Union dues. It is what it is. I’m still waiting for the school that pays a math teacher more than the gym teacher. In Sioux Falls if you teach math or gym, have a bachelor’s degree, and have been teaching 5 years let’s say. You make the SAME amount of money. Pay is based on years teaching, education only. NOT a specific class taught.

  55. How does explaining the issue in detail constitute hiding? I have said exactly what the measure is and what it does, as have numerous participants in this conversation. You, Steve P., keep implying that I have something to “own up to,” as if everything I say in disagreement with you is just a lie.

    With or without IM 23, unions are free to collectively bargain for merit pay schemes, if they want to ignore the copious evidence that says merit pay doesn’t work. The teachers unions can collectively bargain for different pay for different subjects (I invite you to submit the hard criteria that establish one academic discipline as more valuable than another and to calculate the exact dollar differential). But whatever position the unions take on your distraction from the main argument, Steve P, the negotiators still deserve to be paid for their work, and everyone who benefits from that work ought to pay.

    I’m open to lengthy debate. Steve P just wants me to say he’s right. Tell me again: who’s hiding?

  56. Darin Larson

    Steve Parson– It is in state law and regulations that you can differentiate pay for scarce teachers. You can do a little research for once instead of blowing smoke and throwing mud at the wall to see what sticks. I know for a fact that schools can pay more to math and science teachers. Their salaries are public records. Go knock yourself out.

  57. mike from iowa

    According to the South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation, the average of math teacher salaries in South Dakota is $62,174. However, the median is about 9% lower at $56,461. The low end of salary range is between $40,345 and $46,074 while the high end of salary range is between $73,896 and $95,868.

    The South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation reports an average annual physical education teacher salary in South Dakota of $55,868. The median is just 10% lower at $50,278. The bottom bracket of wages, which is generally attributed to entry-level salaries, ranges between $34,840 and $42,788.

  58. Steve Parson

    That’s taking all teachers across the state and doing a calculation. It doesn’t factor the actual specifics that garner pay. Look at the pay grid for Sioux Falls Public. Or any public district in South Dakota and you’ll see it is NOT based on what subject you teach.

    Show me where in South Dakota those “scarce” teacher subjects are getting paid more.

  59. Steve Parson

    And I’m not saying merit pay or merit pay schemes. I’m saying a math teacher or science teacher or whatever getting the ability to negotiate their own pay. Since Districts need these teachers go out and apply, have the districts compete for you.

    Look at an accountant let’s say for a company. It’s a need and an area of occupation that is in demand. These people can garner more money from companies in competing situations. Or look at other fields. I’m sure you all hate that option because you want Unions sooooo bad but teachers could take advantage of that scarcity on their own. Because right now it is clear the Unions aren’t getting it. And now you want teachers to be forced to pay dues when many aren’t in the union. And I’m sure other areas.

  60. “I’m sure you all…”—there you go again generalizing to support your straw-man arguments, Steve. Argue with what your opponents actually say, not the words you want to imagine coming out of their mouths as you sing in the shower.

    If anything, passing IM23 would put the issue of fairness on collective bargaining representation in the spotlight. Teachers and other workers facing a requirement to pay fair-share dues would ask why and whether they have to pay. Workers who really want to avoid the fair-share dues would try to follow exactly the course Steve P advocates, doing it themselves instead of hiring someone else. Freeloading would no longer be an option; everyone would pay, either in dollars or in personal sweat, for services. Wouldn’t that be a fairer market solution, opening the door to the possibility that teachers in scarce fields would be able to win market-level wages?

  61. John Wrede

    My attitude is; for what it’s worth; vote against outside (out of state) influence and what it advocates. Any time any flyer or phone call from out of state advocates supporting or opposing something, I’m voting the opposite way……… Irrational, I know, but I despise heavy hitting from people and interests that have no connection to South Dakota other than how they think we should act and think — ala Koch Brothers.