A Clearing in the Forest: Infusing the Labor Union Dues Dispute with First Amendment Values


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 and/or the possibility of an enduring union community should be placed on proponents of this view. While the postmodern project can be seen justly as an unsettled approach that is riven by coherency issues, not least, its insistence on offering the good without the true, I believe it supplies modest benefits by revealing the conceivably infinite variety of human preferences in contemporary America. The likely absence of preference convergence understood from the perspective of both public choice theory and postmodern identity construal inevitably 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.