I am a recent graduate and have been at my first job for about 6 months. The hospital where I work is union so as a condition of employment I had to agree (forced) to join the nurses union. My state, Michigan just become the 24th state with a 'right to work' law prohibiting unions from collecting fees from nonunion workers. I worked my way through nursing school but have never worked in a unionized business, this is my first experience with unions.
In my very short time as a union member I was asked (told) to write my state representatives and the Governor to not sign this legislation into law. I was given form letters and petitions to sign and mail, and asked to "donate" my time and money. We were told by the union if this legislation passed, management would roll back all the negotiated improvements in work rules, benefits, wages and retirement.
A lot of time, money and energy was spent on fighting this legislation, but it became law anyway. What is the outcome for the local union? You guest it, a lot of union members are now quitting the union since membership is no longer a requirement. It's amazing how many die hard union members bailed on the union when they no longer had to pay union dues to keep their jobs.
Don't get me wrong, the union is still alive and active, but at this point I'm not sure how effective they can be with it's membership dropping. I've no hard numbers but just talking to people here, anecdotally 30 to 50 percent say because union membership is no longer a requirement for employment they are out. As for me, I'm still undecided on what I'll do, stay a member or leave. I guess my decision will depend on what actually happens within the next 6 months. If the union basically becomes impotent and is on life support due to lack of membershp I see no reason to stay. At that point it just would be kinder to just admit there is nothing more to be done and the union cannot recover; so go ahead an just pull the plug, employees vote to decertify.