Democracies, republics and Right to Work


By Maggie Thurber | for Ohio Watchdog

UNIONS: Greg Loving, a union president and associate professor of philosophy, thinks Right to Work goes against our democracy – except the United States is a republic that protects the rights of all, especially those in the minority.

“Right to work goes against democracy” screamed the headline.

The opinion piece at was written by Greg Loving, an associate professor of philosophy in Clermont College at the University of Cincinnati. He’s also the union president of the American Association of University Professors, University of Cincinnati Chapter.

His editorial starts with a statement that “Right to Work solidly opposes the democratic principles on which the United States is based.”

Except the United States is not a democracy – it’s a republic.

A republic is a form of governance based on the rule of law. A democracy is a form of governance based on majority rule. You’d think a university professor would know that.

Our United States is a republic specifically to ensure the rights of the minority against the tyranny of the majority. Our founders clearly understood this and deliberately chose a republic rather than a democracy as our form of government.

You’ve probably heard the old joke about the definition of a democracy being two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner. The punch line is that in a republic, the sheep has a gun.

“A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine,” Thomas Jefferson said.

The core principle is a majority shouldn’t be able to violate the rights of the minority simply because they have the power of the majority.

This is exactly what Right to Work is all about — allowing all individuals who don’t want to have to join a union the ability to say no.

This is no way infringes on the rights of others who wish to be in a union, while it ensures the rights of those who don’t want union representation.

Loving says Right to Work “goes against the democratic principles based on the minority respecting the outcome of fair democratic elections. Democracy would not work if the minority side in an election could ignore anything the majority decided. Every winning candidate inherits the free democratic decisions that came before, and is responsible for following them unless changes come by appropriate democratic processes.”

It’s true we have democratic elections, but because we are a republic, checks and balances exist to prevent the winners from doing things such as restricting the right of free speech, eliminating the right to a jury trial or due process or voting to take lands without proper compensation.

The inalienable rights that each person has are protected by our republic so that a vote of a majority cannot negate them.

Loving does have one valid point worth considering when he opines about “fair share” fees.

“I also believe that if a union is legally required to provide services, then people should kick in an appropriate amount for those services. ‘Fair Share’ is just what it sounds like.”

But there’s an easy and quick fix for that, and it wouldn’t generate the intense emotions associated with the Right to Work efforts:

Don’t require unions to represent non-members.

If unions were not legally required to provide services to non-members, there wouldn’t be any discussion of fair share fees or any arguments about a right to work.

Problem solved, right?

Not so fast. Unions don’t like that idea because then they lose out on all the income that fair share fees generate.

In the end, it’s all about the money. Incorrect statements about democracy are just a smokescreen.