Many free marketers are wary of labor unions, but many more oppose them. Personally, I have no problems with unions. There is nothing inherently illiberal or anti-market in an union, at least no more so than a corporation or a church. A labor union, just like a corporation, is a group of people who have banded together to achieve some common goal. While I have never been part of an official union, such as the AFL-CIO, there have been times when co-workers and I have banded together to inform our bosses about certain grievances. I feel unions are an integral part of a free market (freedom of association, after all).
Where the trouble comes in is when unions become politicized. Much like a corporation, unions can become cronies. They often lobby for special favors or protections, which give them an unfair advantage, similar to corporate lobbying. Obviously, I oppose this type of behavior, just as I do with a corporation seeking special benefits.
So, what about Right-to-Work? I can honestly say I am conflicted. On the one hand, I dislike the idea of unions being able to compel non-members to pay dues or to join. On the other hand, I believe that, if a shop agrees to be a union-only shop, they have every right to uphold this agreement. It’s a tough decision. The RTW legislation is trying to fix the National Labor Relations Act, but I don’t think using poor legislation to fix poor legislation is the pathway to prosperity (if public choice theory has taught us anything, it’s that government will use any excuse possible to expand its power). So, whenever I read about another state passing RTW legislation, I always greet it with mild concern, asking myself “where do we go from here?”