Detroit Free Press: Marick Masters on UAW lawsuit

A former actuary for the UAW claims he was forced to pay union dues for years, but his local was fake. A lawsuit, filed in December in Wayne County Circuit Court through the conservative Mackinac Center for Public Policy, said Jim Shake paid more than $7,540 in union dues to "Local X" over several years but did not appear to have any actual union representation and that he had been forced to allow dues to be deducted. Marick Masters, a Wayne State University business professor who specializes in labor issues, raised some concern about the nature of the suit but also suggested the union could have handled such employees differently. "It is difficult to determine from the complaint the extent to which the plaintiff was coerced. Also, the nature of this 'orchestrated' suit, sponsored as it is by a third party, gives pause for concern," Masters said. "I am philosophically opposed to right-to-work, but I also believe that all workers should be represented by real unions if they are paying dues, either voluntarily or compulsorily. It would be in labor's best interest to have encouraged workers who might not fit neatly into an existing bargaining unit to have found another way of legitimate representation."

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