A Faster Track to Union-Boss Monopoly?

Obama Bureaucrats Keen to Help Herd Transport Workers Into Unions

(Source: January 2010 NRTWC Newsletter)

Much that is written about American labor unions is misleading because it assumes they operate like other private, nonprofit organizations.

In key respects, this assumption is false. For example, affiliation with private organizations is, the vast majority of the time, a purely personal decision. But under federal labor law, union affiliation is not a personal decision.

Under American traditions of limited government, your decision to contribute your household’s money to a charity, a political campaign, or a single-issue lobbying organization is made individually, or together with your spouse or solicitor.

Public Overwhelmingly Opposes Union Monopoly Bargaining

Your neighbors, fellow employees, or business associates may offer advice, but do not get a chance to vote on which private groups you support or don’t support.

But U.S. labor laws empower pro-union employees who constitute a majority within a government-delineated “bargaining unit” to force other employees who don’t want a union to accept a particular union as their “exclusive” (monopoly) bargaining agent in their dealings with their employer.

Furthermore, once a monopoly-bargaining agent is in place, under federal law it and the employer are legally authorized to agree to fire employees who refuse to pay dues or fees to the union.

Apologists for current labor laws typically cite “majority rule” as the rationale for forcing unwanted union monopoly bargaining and forced dues or fees on employees who don’t wish to join a union.

But under our constitutional system, majority rule normally controls only the affairs of government or the internal affairs of a private association. The invocation of majority rule to force unwilling persons into membership in or financial support for a private organization is not acceptable.

For example, the decision by the majority of businesses in a community to join and pay dues to the Chamber of Commerce doesn’t give them the legal power, under any statute, to force the remaining businesses to join or pay dues.

Furthermore, opinion polls have shown for many years that the general public overwhelmingly opposes union monopoly bargaining.

Airline, Railroad Union Bosses Push For Expansion of Monopoly-Bargaining System

A recent nationwide survey conducted by veteran pollster Del Ali and his firm Research 2000 found that 81% of Americans who regularly vote in statewide elections believe that employees in unionized businesses who do not want to be union-represented should retain the right to bargain for themselves.

While the American people are clearly against monopoly bargaining, union officials and their apologists are for it and want far more of it.

That’s why, last fall, union bosses persuaded the two Barack Obama appointees who now constitute a majority of the three-member National Mediation Board (NMB) to rewrite the rules for union organizing under the Railway Labor Act (RLA).

Under an NMB rule change published last November 3, airline and railroad union dons will need the backing only of a majority of employees who vote, not a majority of all employees within the bargaining unit, to get monopoly-bargaining power.

Once it becomes final, this rule will often allow a pro-union minority of workers to foist a union on the majority of their fellow employees who prefer not to have a union.

“Union lobbyists could try to get the same rewrite of RLA organizing rules adopted legislatively, but they know they couldn’t persuade even today’s Big Labor-dominated Congress to do so,” noted National Right to Work Committee President Mark Mix.

“Congress fears the political consequences of creating an even faster track to union monopoly bargaining — specifically a backlash from employees, businesses and consumers. By now paving that faster track bureaucratically, the Obama Administration is being grossly irresponsible.”