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IM 23 Supporters Brand Fair-Share Union Dues as Closing the “Slacker Loophole”

Our friends in labor (union guys, not imminent moms) were working McGovern Day last Saturday spreading the word about Initiated Measure 23. Evidently wanting to solidify my vote, they go for bicycle imagery: campaign card—front campaign card—front campaign card—back campaign card—back

I was fine with, “Support fair-share union dues,” but “Close the Slacker Loophole” certainly has more punch.

Now let’s see: 21 tackles payday lenders, 22 tackles corruption in Pierre, and 23 tackles free riders. Loan sharks, lobbyists, and freeloaders… can we work up some alliterative synergy?

Learn more at IM 23’s new website at


  1. Steve Peterson 2016-05-03

    What does this measure mean? Your title states Union so does that mean people in this state would have to pay Union “Dues” if a union exists in their occupation?

  2. dave 2016-05-03

    sooooo, I work for a city. I am classified as a exempt employee. I am not allowed to join a union. I do receive some small trickle down benefits from union negotiations but not all. And now they want me to pay union dues.. Sorry folks, sounds to me like the union heads want to pad their nests a little more…

  3. Steve Peterson 2016-05-03

    Clearly the ad campaign and language is used to hide the truth because South Dakota would say no.

  4. leslie 2016-05-03

    getting ones head out for the bigger picture, stiglitz says:

    1. labor law that has weakened bargaining rights of workers obviously has a very adverse effect.

    2. When you don’t have equality of opportunity because you don’t have equal access to education, it just seems so outrageous. It weakens our economy and leads to more inequality….we clearly need a larger federal program to try to help disadvantaged districts.

    3. 50 years after the march on Washington, 150 years after the end of slavery, we still are suffering from the legacy of that, and we have problems of inclusion. Racial inclusion, gender inclusion, and that dimension of inequality is so undermining of our society. That’s something we could do something about quite clearly in terms of affirmative action, the discrimination that the banks engaged in before 2008, the agenda of Black Lives Matter, the mass incarceration. On gender issues, we are one of the only countries that doesn’t have family leave policies. We’re so far out of line with the other advantaged countries.

    4. the tax cut in 2001 and 2003 under President Bush. Economists that are very widely respected were cutting taxes at the top, increasing inequality in our society when what we needed was just the opposite.

  5. grudznick 2016-05-03

    Unions are slackards indeed. They want money from people who don’t want or agree with their “services”.

    If this law bill passes you will all have to pay me for my representation of you on behalf of The Borehole Blog whether you agree with me or not.

  6. Daniel Buresh 2016-05-03

    That may be the least informative website I have seen for an initiated measure. Not one sentence indicating what it does. Only thing it is doing is repeatedly displaying buzzwords like “loop-hole” and “slackers”. I honestly wanted to learn more and got nothing.

  7. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-05-03

    Dave, that’s interesting. How can the city prohibit you from joining a union?

  8. grudznick 2016-05-03

    Mr. Steve Peterson seems to have already seen through the big union lies. They are basically cults.

    Mr. H, that’s a good question. The city should educate workers about how ineffective and counter productive unions are, but one should be able to join whatever club or cult one wants.

  9. Richard Schriever 2016-05-03

    If the company I work for wasn’t a union shop, I’m 100% sure I wouldn’t be making 1/2 as much as I am as a non-union member. And yet – despite the “horrible burden” placed on my employer by having to pay prevailing wages to all employees in the several states they operate in, they are thriving – very profitable, and expanding rapidly.

  10. owen reitzel 2016-05-03

    I’ve seen it in education in South Dakota where the local “union” will negotiate for better pay and benefits and even the non union members, who don’t pay dues, get the benefits. If the school tried to fire the teacher, rightly or wrongly, the union still has to provide help.

    It’s blatantly unfair. If you don’t pay the dues then you’re on your own. Money wise, benefit wise and so on.

  11. grudznick 2016-05-03

    Mr. reitzel, I have to agree with you there. If you don’t pay the dues then you’re on your own, and can sign an even more lucrative contract if you are able. And, reap the benefits.

  12. mike from iowa 2016-05-03

    With what bargaining power,Grudz? You gonna depend on the benevolence of a korporation interested only in keeping costs low to keep shareholders happy? GLWT,chum.

  13. grudznick 2016-05-03

    The power of not being dragged down by the average of the masses, Mr. Mike, for the masses there in Iowa are average. I always put my own skills up for my own remuneration and left the masses for the socialisting “bargaining.” Good employers will pay for quality, so shop yourself well and don’t settle for cheap employers. If all you can do is shop yourself like a Walmart, then so be it.

  14. owen reitzel 2016-05-03

    Maybe Grudz. But like Mike said no leverage, unless your a coach.
    Plus if they just up and fire you I doubt if you’d have the knowledge or the money to defend yourself

  15. Ben Cerwinske 2016-05-03

    While I appreciate the contributions of unions more than I used to, I still don’t like the idea of forced payment of dues. I won’t be supporting this initiatve. However, if you don’t pay dues, then you shouldn’t expect their help or benefits.

  16. grudznick 2016-05-03

    A man should bet on himself, work hard, and expect to reap the benefits of his work. If you are not paid what you think you should be getting, then get a different job. Sitting there like a whiner complaining you want more just makes you a socialist whiner.

    Mr. Cerwinske is darned right. You can’t charge me for doing something you think benefits me if I don’t want it. Otherwise, again, you will all be paying me for my efforts on your behalf, representing on the Borehole Blog. And this new law will make you have to pay me whether you want my efforts or not.

  17. mike from iowa 2016-05-03

    You can’t charge me for doing something you think benefits me if I don’t want it.

    Ever heard of taxes, Grudz? You benefit from unions whether you want it or not. Just take some of that extra pay you got because of unions and donate it to thew unions. There,you did a good deed for once and you still didn’t pay union dues.

  18. Eric D. 2016-05-03

    Cory, I like the idea of unions being able to charge non-members their “fair share” for the bargaining services the non-member benefits from, but what about the other ridiculousness that will ensue from this poorly-written measure?

    Here is the whole of the operative text: “An organization, corporate or nonprofit, has the right to charge a fee for any service provided by the organization.”

    Okay, maybe that serves the Unions’ purposes. The law says they have a right to charge a fee. Do I have an obligation to pay? The law doesn’t mention that. I make minimum wage. If Dakota Free Press forms a non-profit corporation, can you send me a fair-share invoice for your work to refer SB 177? Without my permission, ABC Corporation re-roofs my house while I am on vacation. I benefit from this, even though I didn’t want it. Do I have to pay their bill?

    IM23 is a disaster in drafting and won’t stand up for a second in a court challenge.

  19. mike from iowa 2016-05-03

    If you don’t pay the dues then you’re on your own, and can sign an even more lucrative contract if you are able. And, reap the benefits.

    I’m guessing korporations don’t deal with individual contracts for labor or even management. Your demands for better pay/benefits will probably end you up in the unemployment/unemployable line.

    If only you could clone Scalia and put him back on the Scotus then you could be certain unions would get the shaft again and korporations would feel free to use and abuse you as they see fit,Grudz.

  20. grudznick 2016-05-03

    I get to participate in government, Mr. Mike. Maybe in Iowa they stuff it down your maw, but you can’t make me join the JayCees or Kiawanis here in South Dakota despite the good community deeds they may perform and I may benefit from. Otherwise the Kiawanis would not have a problem collecting dues from everybody. Your mind is flawed.

  21. Rorschach 2016-05-03

    South Dakota law requires unions to provide services for non-union members free of charge. This initiated measure says you don’t have to join the union, but the union will be able to charge you for those services that our anti-union GOP party legislature now requires unions to provide for free as part of their union busting effort.

    As long as they are required by law to represent non-members, Unions ought to be able to charge non-members for the costs of those services. Fair is fair.

  22. Troy 2016-05-04


    Explain to me this statement: “South Dakota law requires unions to provide services for non-union members free of charge.”

    What are those services? Where is it in SD law?

  23. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-05-04

    Owen, I’m not sure the teacher’s union is obliged to help non-union teachers in firing situations. I was not a member of MEA in 2000–2001, and I received no assistance from MEA when the school board fired me.

  24. mike from iowa 2016-05-04

    At least I have a mind,Grudz. I am not forcing you to join anything. Not even a union,but, non-union workers benefit from collective bargaining. You don’t want to contribute it makes you a deadbeat slacker-living off the toils of someone else.

  25. mike from iowa 2016-05-04

    Our “right-to-work” law (and please, put “right to work” in quotes, because such statutes are created not to protect workers’ rights but to weaken labor unions) mean South Dakota workers cannot be required to pay dues to unions representing their workplaces. However, the National Labor Relations Act requires that unions represent all employees, member and non-member alike, in collective bargaining. Non-members get contract negotiation services without having to pay for them.

    From DFP 9/16/15 dozer drivers

  26. barry freed 2016-05-04


    Do you get overtime pay?

    Can you go home after 40 hours if you choose?

    Does your employer pay women the same as men?

    Does your employer have to provide a safe working environment?

    Do you make a living wage?

    Does your employer have to pay you?

    Then say: Thank you to the men and women who fought and died for worker rights, often killed by factions of the US Government you probably think provided all the work conditions you take for granted. That, or tell your boss you will take whatever they think is fair for a mandatory 80 hour work week, that you will provide tools, haul them and materials with your vehicle, and they can forget about safety.

  27. barry freed 2016-05-04

    Before Unions, there were no limits to work hours. Mother Jones’ husband worked at an iron smelting factory 7 days per week, 14 hours per day. It was mandatory and there was no such thing as overtime. Smelters are still very dangerous, but in Jones’ day, workers were worn out and often died in their 30’s. The Union movement was for survival with the likes of Morgan, Getty, and Rockefeller. Today it is Walmart, McDonalds, and Kochs breaking down conditions, one by one.

    Unions negotiate wage, benefits, and work conditions. Non-Union shops like Peabody Coal often pay Union wage minus the amount of dues to keep Unions out. They would not so well if there was no Union. Proof of that is a practice called Double Breasting. That is when a consignatory company forms a non-Union company in States like SD. They use the second company to break down safety and welfare of the Union half. They provide only the minimum of what Government requires in wages and conditions to the non-Union half and use that fact to subtly threaten the Union Members.

  28. grudznick 2016-05-04

    Mr. Freed, I no longer work. But when I did work I worked hard and did well for myself.

  29. Lanny V Stricherz 2016-05-04

    I had to read all of the posts, all the way to the end to finally get a good explanation, by Mr Freed at 7:18 5-4. When I started in the work force at 18, I earned $145 a week working 42 hours a week. I had union representation, working in the packing house.

    To “better” myself, I then went into sales for the same company without union representation. I started at $105 a week and worked anywhere from 60 to 80 hours a week. But there was always a brighter future. Well I worked for that company for ten years in sales and never did catch up with the pay that the folks made in the packing house, in spite of the fact that at the end of the time that I worked for them I was one of the top sales people that they had working for them, and I always worked more than 50 hours a week.

  30. Lanny V Stricherz 2016-05-04

    One other thing, those folks working McGovern Days were probably never aware that McGovern was anti union as well. He refused back in the early 60s when it was an issue to vote for the repeal of section 14B of the Taft Hartley Law, the law that gave states the ability to have right to work laws. That in spite of the fact that union folks helped to put him in office.

    Within the last ten years of his life, when the card check for union representation issue came up under Governor Walker in Wisconsin, George McGovern came out very strongly against card check.

  31. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-05-04

    Ah, Mike reminds us that its federal regulation, the NLRA, that requires unions to collectively bargain on behalf of all workers. See DFP post:

    …and the NRLA:

    …where I find this note:

    24 states have banned union-security agreements by passing so-called “right to work” laws. In these states, it is up to each employee at a workplace to decide whether or not to join the union and pay dues, even though all workers are protected by the collective bargaining agreement negotiated by the union.

    Non-union members are still protected by the collective bargaining agreement forged by union reps. Does that answer Troy’s question on Ror’s statement?

  32. Jenny 2016-05-04

    Americans, whether they know it or not, need unions more than ever. Unions built America and the middle class.
    Having lived in MN, I know plenty of unions folks that are better off financially b/c of the bargaining table.
    I didn’t know that McGovern was anti union, Lanny. That’s interesting but I guess he maybe thought that he had to be b/c of the anti union SD label.
    I first moved to MN in 2001 when the state workers were on strike. I was excited when they asked me to not cross the line to enter the government center. I knew I had found my people and was going to love the passionate politics here!

  33. mike from iowa 2016-05-04

    dumbass dubya’s regime took away OSHA regs from working people. No more workplace safety for the working stiffs of korporate amerika.

  34. Steven Peterson 2016-05-04

    The “Teacher” union cannot negotiate the contract. They have little power here.

    Is Cory going to blog about how the SFEA wants the district to use the “Teacher Pay” increase for non-teachers too? Waste of money….

  35. Ben Cerwinske 2016-05-04

    I’ll consider supporting the initiative given current law which says non-members must be bargained for. However, I’d prefer if that wasn’t the case. Any politician who opposes the initiative should also go on record denouncing the current law.

  36. Ben Cerwinske 2016-05-04

    I believe forced payment of dues gives unions too much power. It overcorrects for other entities having too much power. Neither is good.

  37. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-05-04

    Steven! Tell us more—send us a link to that Sioux Falls EA plan.

  38. Troy 2016-05-04

    I don’t think McGovern was “anti-union” but his views on unions were tempered by his strong civil libertarian views with regard to free association. He didn’t believe forcing people to join anything was consistent with freedoms guaranteed under the constitution and he didn’t believe compulsory membership was in the best long-term interests of even unions.

    Other than that, he was openly pro-union.

  39. Lanny V Stricherz 2016-05-04

    If that is the case, Troy, then he should have authored a bill that allowed doctors not to join the AMA and still practice medicine, and lawyers not to join the ABA and still practice law.

  40. Don Coyote 2016-05-04

    @Barry Freed:
    Minimum wages have a dark underbelly. The country’s first minimum wage laws, pre-WWI, applied just to women and children which helped to curb job competition for adult males. Why would an employer want to hire a woman or child at the same rate as a male?

    Overtime wages also came about not from the unions but as an attempt by FDR during the depression as a way of creating more jobs. By penalizing the employer by increasing his wages on his current work force, FDR hoped to create additional jobs betting that the employer would increase his workforce to avoid the expense of overtime.

  41. Monty 2016-05-04

    McGovern’s ability to hold a grudge against the AFL-CIO and their President George Meany for his refusal to endorse McGovern’s presidential candidacy had more to do with his lapse in enthusiasm for labor than libertarian leanings.

  42. mose11 2016-05-04

    I make 17 dollars an hour half of my retirement for a 40 hour week and my company is very succesful I worked for.So all you wanna be pros keep working for 8.50 while ill go on vacation.

  43. Troy 2016-05-04


    I think the distinction between unions and the ABA/AMA is some professional organizations are self-regulating professions (vs. supervised by State Boards or commissions).

    I don’t know why the AMA has this responsibility/privilege (depending on your perspective) but I seem to recall that the self-regulation of the bar goes all the way back to either the Magna Carta or Rome when it was a Republic. It was deemed that the ability of the government to limit/select who could advocate for justice was a form of tyranny.

    Two countries in particular which do not have a independent bar are Russia and China and we know how justice is administered there. Even most Muslim nations separate the ability to practice from the state but they are required to understand Sharia which results in dual-supervision (mullahs and peers).

  44. bearcreekbat 2016-05-04

    Lanny, I don’t know about doctors and the AMA, but in SD lawyers are not required to join the ABA. They must be active members of the SD Bar Association to practice law, but not the ABA.

  45. mike from iowa 2016-05-04

    Wingnut in Missouri crafted a bill that would make lawyers out of congressmen and women after they served two years in the lege. No bar exam required. Apparently it was so legislators could become judges after they are thrown out of office. I don’t believe it went anywhere, but still,what is wrong with these people? Wingnuts hate and have always loathed lawyers-especially defense lawyers.

  46. mike from iowa 2016-05-04

    Ben C-the Scotus apparently believed unions had too much money to spend on Dems during election cycles,which explains why they clamped down hard on unions spending w/o consent of their members,but, put no such restraints on wingnut friendly korporate boards.

  47. bearcreekbat 2016-05-04

    mfi, people in power who insult and hate lawyers have a reason. Lawyers can learn and understand the law, including laws that restrict the discretion of people in power. When these folks ignore laws designed to protect the poor or limit power, lawyers have the ability to challenge the unlawful behavior. See e.g.:

    SD Governor Janklow decided to ignore the federal requirement that SD use Low Income Energy Assistance grants to assist SD’s poorest of the poor by categorically excluding the poorest South Dakotans living in subsidized housing. It took legal aid lawyers to enforce the federal law against the powerful Janklow.

    As the appellate court ruled, SD’s implementation of this law “categorically excluded persons residing in subsidized or public housing from receiving the home energy assistance available under the program. We agree . . . that this exclusion violates the federal statutory requirement that the State distribute the funds to the most needy in terms of income and proportionate energy costs.”

    That is an example of why some people in power despise lawyers who have the knowledge and ability to hold them accountable for violating the law.

  48. owen reitzel 2016-05-04

    Cory I talked to my wife and she said that the local has to insure that the negotiated agreement is followed. All teachers fall under the negotiated agreement so they have to be treated the same way-union or not

  49. owen reitzel 2016-05-04

    In other words SDEA provides a lawyer for the non union teacher if that person needs.

    Doesn’t seem fair.

  50. mike from iowa 2016-05-04

    I need better words to show my disgust for republicans, bcb. South Dakota has a long standing tradition of callous treatment of the least among us and it appears nearly every red state is the same way. Yikes!!

  51. barry freed 2016-05-05

    By providing a lawyer for a non-union Teacher, the union Teachers also benefit. Those who would deny Rights, do it in small increments. We must be ever vigilant on every front, and at every affront.

  52. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-05-05

    We all benefit from labor fighting to protect worker rights. But if we all benefit, don’t we all have an obligation to chip in?

  53. owen reitzel 2016-05-05

    Your right Cory. If you want to dance then you have to pay the fiddler.

  54. leslie 2016-05-06

    bcb-so well said:)

  55. leslie 2016-05-06

    “penalizing the employer by increasing his wages on his current work force”

    don-penalizing is the wrong idea and you know it. if yah can’t stand the heat….

    if u can no longer screw your employee and not stay in business, too bad. get a job.

  56. grudznick 2016-05-06

    Unions are bad. They are bad.

    And, they are dying out.

  57. Lanny V Stricherz 2016-05-06

    Old curmudgeons are bad. They are bad.

    And, they are dying out.

  58. Kevin McG 2016-11-04

    Hi I own a company in Rapid City South Dakota and I will tell you what freeloading is. A guys who dose not know their trade who doesn’t even spend the time to even learn it anymore who think that just because they are in a certain trade they should get to certain wage regardless of how good they are at it or not.
    I don’t think it’s fair to have to charge a customer extra money just because the employees are in a certain line of work. It seems to me every employee now wants to make enough money to be able to buy a brand new vehicle and live in a nice house right off the bat even without learning what they’re supposed to do expecially in fields like electricians plumbers HVAC systems stonemasons. Here in South Dakota a guy doesn’t have to make a huge wage to have a nice life. And there’s no reason that I have to charge my customers extra money when they don’t even try to produce because they don’t have to. They’re guaranteed a certain hour wage.
    I understand what unions used to be for it was to make it so people had better working conditions so they can actually have a life but we’re not talking about that anymore now we’re talking about is just increasing a certain amount of money regardless if they know it or not we were talking about Labor and a man’s worth compared to what he could do but now you’re wanting to give a wage to a guy who doesn’t even want to produce you want to talk about free loading but that’s the freeloader the guy who stands there drinking a cup of coffee and wanting to talk wile other men are working and that you would say well you should fire him but even firing him now you gotta pay for.
    I think a man should start out the bottom work his way to the Top If a owner does not want to pay him what he’s thats worth thats fine but he has the right to go to another job and there are lots of companies bigger companies who can pay the great wages but the smaller companies. you have to have a guy who knows what he’s doing willing to get it done and work hard for it. I think the harder you work and the more that you know is what you should be paying for not just for individual fields.
    I’m a carpenter I probably have 60 to 80 thousand in carpentry tools I charge $25 an hour. Electricians I would say they probably have around five to ten thousand and tools and they charge $90 to 120 an hour now how fair is that. And now you want to make it where they can even get more and still do less. And I think the guy who was next to me who doesn’t even know half as much as I do should get as much as me but now you want to make them all get the same wages that’s ridiculous

  59. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-11-04

    Kevin, can you show me the line in IM23 or in the rest of our discussion here where we advocate giving every worker the same wage regardless of experience or performance?

  60. jerry 2016-11-04

    How much effort in trade school did you put in Kevin? Electricians have to have training that they pay for, they have to take tests and become certified. They do not just get paid a wage because they have electrical tape. If you have 60 to 80 thousand in tools, then you must charge more than 25 bucks an hour. There is a job offering that pays 16 bucks and hour with benefits to work with bird seed. If you have those kinds of tools, you have to have a shop to house them. This is curious

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