Big Labor Systematically Lies to Forced Dues-Paying Workers

The abuses described by Vargas and Geary are completely representative of Big Labor

Throughout last month’s first-ever U.S. House hearing on national right-to-work legislation in the Education and Workforce Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions (HELP), the dividing line between the panel’s Republican majority and its Democrat minority was very clear.

Every single one of the Republican HELP panel members who spoke during the 130-minute-long hearing expressed support for HR1200, the National Right to Work Act. This simple and straightforward legislation would prohibit the firing of any American worker covered by federal labor law for mere refusal to join or pay dues to an unwanted union.

At the same time, all of the Democrat HELP panelists who spoke out insisted Big Labor bosses should have the power to get workers fired if they refuse to fork over money to a union that wields monopoly-bargaining power over front-line employees at their business. 

The Democrats made clear that they don’t think a union should have to provide any real evidence that a worker personally benefits from unionization before extracting money from him or her.

Nor do they think we should take the word of workers who state that they do not benefit from unionization.

But even these Big Labor politicians and their handpicked hearing witness, Jody Calemine of the union-label Century Foundation, refused to defend openly the shady deals between union bosses and business executives that illegally force workers to become full union members and pay full union dues as a condition of employment.

For example, when Rep. Eric Burlison (R-Mo.) asked Calemine if he agreed with the proposition that “there should not be any kind of reprisal for an employee who chooses not to join a labor organization,” the latter responded: “Correct.” 

Similarly, Rep. Jahana Hayes (D-Conn.) said that no worker should be “threatened, harassed, or tricked into joining a union.”

Calemine and Hayes had just heard testimony from two witnesses, public defender Brunilda Vargas and registered nurse Jeanette Geary, that they personally had been lied to and threatened with termination because of their refusal to join a union.

But Calemine, Hayes, and their cohorts brushed off this testimony, claiming, in Hayes’ words, that such abuses are “not representative of unions as a whole.”

Unfortunately, that isn’t true.

The abuses described by Vargas and Geary are completely representative of Big Labor.

To demonstrate the point, in my own oral testimony to the panel, I quoted directly from Article II of the United Auto Workers union’s new national union contract covering tens of thousands of rank-and-file factory employees.

“Employees covered by this agreement at the time it becomes effective and who are members of the Union at that time, shall be required as a condition of continued employment to continue membership in the Union for the duration of this Agreement,” this contract states. “Employees covered by this Agreement who are not members at the time this Agreement becomes effective shall be required as a condition of continued employment to become members of the Union.”

This language can have no conceivable purpose other than to mislead workers about their legal rights.

And except for the effective date tacked on at the end, it is exactly the same deceitful, anti-worker compulsory-membership provision that was inserted into the 2019 UAW contract by “old guard” UAW bosses, from whom current “reformist” boss Shawn Fain is eager to distance himself.

But Fain is by all appearances no better than his ex-con predecessors Gary Jones and Dennis Williams. UAW rank-and-filers – even those in non-Right to Work states – have rights and are supposed to enjoy at least minimal freedom-of-association under U.S. law, yet the union that would represent them does not respect those rights.

If politicians like Hayes were really opposed to the illegal imposition of forced union membership upon American employees, as they claim, they would be calling Fain out for this.

But not a single anti-Right to Work member of Congress has done so.

Indeed, many praise him to the skies.

This article was originally published in our monthly newsletter. Go here to access previous newsletter posts.

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