Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Hutchinson on Infusing the Labor Union Dues Dispute with First Amendment Values

Hutchison05_2Harry Hutchinson (George Mason) has posted on SSRN his forthcoming article in the William & Mary Bill of Rights Journal, A Clearing in the Forest: Infusing the Labor Union Dues Dispute with First Amendment Values, 14 Wm & Mary Bill Rts. J. (forthcoming 2006).

From the abstract:

This article deploys public choice theory and postmodern identity claims to develop a far-reaching understanding of the union dues dispute, which suggests that the burden of proof on the existence of and/or the possibility of an enduring union community should be placed on proponents of this view. While the postmodern project can be seen as an unsettled approach that is driven by coherency issues, not the least, its insistence on offering the good without the true, it supplies modest benefits by revealing the conceivably infinite varieties of human preferences in contemporary America.

The absence of preference convergence, understood from the perspective of both public choice theory and postmodern identity construal, vitiates prevalent assertions that unions operate as a paradigm of voluntary cooperation characterized by solidarity. The conflict between putative solidarity and the actual presence of preference diversity might well be the genesis of this ongoing dispute.


I intend to show that union expenditures, such as organizing, that do not embrace an explicitly political purpose can nevertheless diminish the interest of workers in freedom of expression, freedom of association, and a variety of other interests that allow individual workers and subgroups of workers to define their own identities in what has become a pluralistic society. Lastly, I supply a number of proposals for clarifying judicial, NLRB, and scholarly analysis associated with the intensely fought debate over union dues.

You can download this provocative labor law article here.


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