Big Labor Stranglehold Over Maine Loosening

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For decades, ordinary Mainers have been able to see right through Big Labor bosses’ flimsy excuses for compelling workers to support unions financially. But too many state lawmakers are still tunnel-visioned forced-dues apologists. (credit: BOB PALMER CARTOON ADAPTED BY NRTWC)

Committee Vice President Testifies Before State Lawmakers

Just since the beginning of 2012, the National Right to Work Committee has helped grass-roots activists in Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Kentucky and Missouri pass state laws prohibiting the exaction of forced union dues and fees from employees as a job condition.

Thanks to these victories, the total number of states with Right to Work protections for employees has risen from 22 to 28 over the past five-and-a-half years.

But Committee officers, members and supporters won’t be satisfied until employees in all 50 states have the legal right to join and financially support a union, or refuse to do either, without facing termination as a consequence.

Recently, the Committee has been expanding its operations in a number of states where Big Labor’s monopoly privileges seemed not long ago to be thoroughly entrenched.

Labor Federation Founder: ‘No Lasting Gain Has Ever Come From Compulsion’

One important case in point is Maine, where Committee Vice President Greg Mourad testified on May 8 at the state capitol in Augusta in support of state Right to Work legislation.

In urging members of the Labor, Commerce, Research and Economic Development Committee to vote for L.D.65, a ban on forced union dues and fees sponsored by Rep. Larry Lockman (R-Amherst), Mr. Mourad emphasized that compulsion “sets the stage for most of the abuses of union power.”

Such Big Labor abuses “work to the detriment of all segments of the American public,” not just the independent-minded workers who are typically union bosses’ direct targets.

The philosophy of today’s Right to Work supporters, Mr. Mourad added, is nothing other than what American Federation of Labor (AFL) founder and President Samuel Gompers espoused for the union movement in calling for “devotion to the fundamentals of human liberty – the principles of voluntarism.”

“No lasting gain has ever come from compulsion,” added Mr. Gompers. “If we seek to force, we but tear apart that which, united, is invincible.”

Mr. Mourad commended Mr. Lockman for pushing for recorded House and Senate roll-call votes on Right to Work.

Despite Governor’s Strong Support, Right to Work Unlikely to Pass This Year

He also applauded GOP Gov. Paul LePage for carrying on a persistent and principled fight against forced unionism throughout his years as Maine’s chief executive.

As this Newsletter edition goes to press at the beginning of June, no floor action on L.D.65 has been scheduled, but it is virtually certain lawmakers in both chambers will be required to go on record in support of or opposition to Right to Work before the end of the session.

Unfortunately, Right to Work proponents in Maine face a steep uphill battle in 2017 to get L.D.65 approved by the Legislature and sent to Mr. LePage’s desk.

“In the 151-member House of Representatives,” explained Mr. Mourad, “the 77-member Democrat majority caucus will almost certainly vote as a bloc against Right to Work, as a consequence of the extraordinary power Big Labor wields over Democrat politicians in Maine.

“Democrat votes alone would suffice to stall L.D.65 in the House this year. Moreover, several Big Labor-appeasing Republican House members are likely to join up with the Democrats in opposing Right to Work.”

‘Compulsory Unionism’s Days Are Numbered in The Pine Tree State’

Mr. Mourad added that, although the immediate outlook for Right to Work legislation in Maine isn’t bright, proponents have ample reason to hope for success within the next few years.

“From 2006 to 2016,” Mr. Mourad noted, “the number of people employed in Maine actually fell by 0.8%, even as aggregate employment rose by 8.1% in Right to Work states.

“Politicians who vote to continue denying Mainers the superior job growth and higher real employee compensation that come with Right to Work do so at their peril. Compulsory unionism’s days are numbered in the Pine Tree State.”

(Source: July 2017 National Right To Work Newsletter)