Big Labor Loses in Florida Special Election

(Click here to download the April 2014 National Right to Work Committee Newsletter)

Right to Work Poised to Be an Important Issue All Year Long

In last month’s high-profile Florida special election to fill the U.S. House seat left vacant as a consequence of the death of GOP Congressman C.W. (Bill) Young in October 2013, Big Labor Democratic nominee Alex Sink performed just a little worse than the Obama-Biden re-election campaign had in the same district.

But it was enough to change the outcome of the race.

thank-you david jollyIn November 2012, Barack Obama and Joe Biden carried Florida’s 13th Congressional District, located entirely in Pinellas County on the west coast of Florida, by a 50%-49% margin. But in March 2014, Ms. Sink lost the same district by a 47%-49% margin to pro-Right to Work Republican David Jolly.

It certainly wasn’t lack of support from Big Labor that hurt Ms. Sink. She got the maximum PAC contributions legally allowed from ironworkers, electrical workers, and carpenters union bosses, for example, plus plenty of “in-kind” assistance from the union hierarchy.

Several issues, undoubtedly including the unpopularity of Obamacare, contributed to Mr. Jolly’s 3400-vote victory (out of 183,000 cast) in a jurisdiction that the Obama-Biden ticket had carried twice.

But the bottom-line result would almost certainly have been different were it not for the impact of the Right to Work issue.

Right to Work Survey Program Contacted More Than 15,000 Pinellas County Households

During the last few weeks before Florida District 13 residents went to the polls on March 11, the National Right to Work Committee’s federal survey program sent out a series of mailings, each reaching more than 15,000 identified Right to Work supporters and their families.

The survey mailings reported where the candidates stood on compulsory unionism, and urged recipients to thank Mr. Jolly for his public pledge to support Right to Work and ask the Organized Labor-backed Ms. Sink to stop concealing her position on the issue.

“Scientific nationwide polls show that nearly 80% of Americans who regularly vote agree that no one should be forced to belong to a union as a condition of employment,” commented Committee President Mark Mix.

“And experience and common sense tell you that, when a pro-Right to Work citizen knows there is a clear difference between the candidates on the issue of voluntary unionism, it increases that citizen’s propensity to vote and often also affects how he or she votes.

“There are likely to be many primary and general election U.S. House and Senate contests this year that are roughly as close or even closer than March’s special election in Florida.

“Thanks to millions of grass-roots activists across the country, Right to Work is poised to be an important issue in race after race.”

Among the Right to Work federal Survey 2014 questions all major-party nominees are being asked is whether or not the candidate supports and will work for passage of legislation repealing all federal labor-law provisions that authorize forced union dues and fees.

“No American should be forced to join or bankroll a union as a condition of employment,” explained Mr. Mix.

“In order to realize this goal, the Committee has long been fighting for passage of federal forced dues-repeal legislation known as the National Right to Work Act, and introduced in the current Congress as H.R.946 and S.204.

“Effectively, this would make all 50 states Right to Work states with regard to the private sector.”

Compulsory Union Fees For Harmful ‘Representation’

Twenty-four states already have Right to Work laws on the books shielding private-sector employees from federally-imposed forced union dues and also, in almost every case, prohibiting public-sector compulsory unionism.

The normal motivation for some or many employees to resist bankrolling the union that wields monopoly-bargaining power in their workplace is their belief that the union hierarchy is acting contrary to their interests.

For example, as Justice Sam Alito mentioned to the lawyer representing union officials in a National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation case heard by the U.S. Supreme Court in January, a young employee may reasonably value his cash salary more than his potential pension benefits.

But union bosses, Mr. Alito continued, may be using that employee’s forced-fee money to ensure a higher share of his compensation goes into a pension fund, rather than his salary.

In response, union lawyer Paul Smith bluntly acknowledged it is his clients’ position that the employee should be forced to pay union fees for such harmful “representation.”

“Forced union dues or fees for harmful ‘representation’ may seem reasonable to union bosses and their lawyers, but to the vast majority of ordinary Americans they amount to a manifest injustice,” declared Mr. Mix.

Latest Labor Department Data Add to Mountain of Pro-Right to Work Evidence

Public support for a national Right to Work law is also driven by years and years of economic data showing that jobs, employee compensation, and other forms of income consistently grow more rapidly in Right to Work states than in forced-unionism states.

U.S. Labor Department data released March 17 estimating total annual 2013 private-sector payroll employment in the 50 states added to the mountain of evidence.

According to new and revised data now available on the website of the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), from 2003 to 2013 private-sector payroll employment in Right to Work states grew by 9.2%.

That’s well over double the overall increase of 4.0% experienced by forced-unionism states.

(Because Indiana and Michigan recently adopted Right to Work laws that took effect in February 2012 and March 2013, respectively, they are excluded from this analysis.)

The negative correlation between compulsory unionism and long-term employment growth is robust. Nine of the 11 bottom-ranking states for private-sector payroll job growth lack Right to Work laws.

But eight of the 11 top-ranking states have longstanding Right to Work protections for employees.

Survey Is the ‘Lynchpin Of the Committee’s Entire Lobbying Program’

“In a year when it’s likely there will be an unusually high number of close elections, public moral opposition to forced unionism and public concern about its detrimental economic impact could lead to significant changes in the composition of the U.S. House and Senate,” said Mr. Mix.

“That’s why the Committee must do everything possible now to get candidates to go on the record as 100% Right to Work supporters.

“Through the federal Survey 2014 Program, the Committee is now working to get candidates to take a clear stand by mobilizing huge numbers of forced-unionism opponents who live in their home states and districts. The survey is the lynchpin of the Committee’s entire lobbying program.”