Under both federal and state law, union officials have always had the option to negotiate “members-only” contracts with employers that do not affect the terms of employment of workers who do not wish to join or pay dues to a union.
But from the early 1960’s until recently, Big Labor rarely if ever tried to exercise its members-only option.
Current Law Authorizes Monopolistic Unionism
Instead, union organizers have focused their efforts on imposing monopoly bargaining on all the employees in a so-called “bargaining unit.”
(The National Labor Relations Board, or NLRB, vaguely defines a “bargaining unit” as “a group of two or more employees who share a ‘community of interest’ and may reasonably be grouped together for collective bargaining purposes.”)
Monopoly bargaining in the private sector is authorized and promoted by both the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) and the Railway Labor Act (RLA), and in the public sector by numerous state laws.
Under monopoly bargaining, employees lose the individual right to bargain for themselves over their wages, benefits, and work rules, and must allow a union agent to negotiate in their stead, like it or not.
Monopoly Bargaining Serves As Big Labor Pretext For Forced Union Dues
And once union officials have rejected their members-only option and exploited NLRA, RLA, or state labor law provisions to seize monopoly power, they then use that power as an excuse for demanding that the employer acquiesce to a contract forcing union nonmembers to pay union dues or fees just to get or keep a job.
Of course, Big Labor propaganda has long obscured the fact that union bosses have a members-only option that they scorn because they prefer to wield monopoly power over workers.
Over the past few years, however, forced-unionism propaganda has run foursquare into reality.
More and more officials of AFL-CIO-affiliated and other unions now admit the fact that members-only bargaining has always been permissible under both federal and state laws.
But they also want a new twist.
Three years ago, the bosses of seven large AFL-CIO-affiliated unions filed a petition asking the NLRB to rule that any business without a monopoly union must honor any union’s request for bargaining on a members-only basis — even if most employees don’t want a union.
“For years, union officials brazenly claimed that they should have forced dues because, supposedly, they are forced to represent nonmembers,” commented Matthew Leen, vice president of the National Right to Work Committee.
Hoary Excuse For Forced Union Dues Obliterated
“But in August 2007, the bosses of seven large unions finally admitted in writing that members-only bargaining is permissible under current law and declared that they wanted their members-only bargaining power expanded,” he continued.
“The following winter, lawyers for the entire six million-member ‘Change to Win’ union conglomerate, which had broken off from the AFL-CIO conglomerate, filed their own NLRB petition asking for more such bargaining power.
“Finally, just last month, a group of 46 pro-forced unionism labor law professors sent an unsolicited brief to the NLRB prodding the agency to mandate members-only collective bargaining.
“Like the AFL-CIO and ‘Change to Win’ petitions that preceded it, the union-label academics’ brief admitted that ‘long-standing case law has expressly validated both the process and the product of employers’ recognizing and bargaining with . . . unions for their members only’ (emphasis in original).
“Neither the union bosses nor their academic apologists want Big Labor’s current monopoly-bargaining power diminished one bit, even though the evidence is clear and compelling that that power is detrimental to the interests of workers who don’t want a union.
“And union bosses, with their academic apologists’ support, also want to retain the power to force workers, as a condition of employment, to pay dues or fees for unwanted monopoly bargaining. But what’s their rationale for retaining the forced-dues option?
“In cases where union bosses refuse to exercise their members-only bargaining option, that’s obviously no excuse for forcing workers to pay for an unwanted monopoly union.
“These recent developments will inspire Committee members to fight even harder for enactment of national Right to Work legislation barring all forced union dues and fees.”