A Loophole in Right-to-Work

12/11/2012 11:10:00 AM
Something puzzles me about Right-to-Work laws like the one underway in Michigan. These laws aim to weaken unions by mandating that no worker can be compelled to pay union dues as a condition of employment at any firm, regardless of whether the firm has a contract with the union. But it seems to me that there is an easy loophole to get around this: instead of including a provision in their contract with the firm stating that the firm will only employ workers who pay union dues, the union could replace this with a provision that simply states that the firm will pay a per-worker subsidy to the union. The firm is then free to lower wages as they please, meaning that we end up with the exact same de facto arrangement as before, except that this one is de jure legal in right-to-work states.

But then, I'm not a lawyer.