First Question

Why doesn’t the forcing of Wisconsin’s public employees to join the union violate (in spirit) Article 20, point 2 of the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, “No one may be compelled to belong to an association”?

You could argue that no one has to be a public employee. However, Article 20.2 seems pretty weak if a simple loophole is for the government to define broad classes of people (e.g. public employees) who are compelled to belong to a separate association, rather than to compel all people to do so.

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5 Responses to First Question

  1. Gippetto says:

    You say that a broad class of people is forced to belong to associations, you make this sound like an arbitrary loophole, allowing a breach of the voluntary association clause in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

    But government employees are different form other broad classes of people (eg Latino people people, poor people, people over 6 feet tall) in this way: government workers constitute a voluntary association. This fact changes everything, because voluntary associations can require their members, as a condition for their membership, to do many strange things, including require their members to join other associations. The voluntary associations of football teams and fraternities can require their freshmen classes to join the association of people who wear red dresses during hazing month. Why don’t conservatives (I am assuming you are conservative) petition the UN to express alarm about the practices of football teams and fraternities?

  2. admin says:

    It is different when the government forces people to join an organization. What if the government forced its employees to join the NRA? Would that be ok?

  3. Gippetto says:

    My critique of your original argument stands: when the government requires its employees to be members of a union, it does not clearly violate the voluntary association clause any more than other organizations do when they require their members to have membership in various other groups. I have heard Barack Obama requires high-level employees to be members of a gym. So do many employers. If someone doesn’t like the requirement, they can work someplace else.

    I agree that the government is different from other employers. Since the government represents all citizens, it should not require its employees to do things that are likely to offend large parts of the population. But this is beside the point of your original argument.

    Rather than being concerned for the human rights of government workers, I think you have it in for unions.

  4. Clover says:

    The Muslim woman should be able to take the 3 weeks off in order not to offend her.

  5. Jonathan says:

    That sounds like sarcasm!

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