Big Labor Targets Fence-Sitting Senators

Committee Program to Highlight Forced-Unionism Issue in Key Races

(Click here to download the April 2016 National Right to Work Newsletter)

2016_april_nrtwc_newsletter_trumkaSix years ago this November, voters across most of the country sent two clear messages to Big Labor politicians on Capitol Hill:

They were dismayed by what the politicians had done at union lobbyists’ behest, and determined to stop them from doing more of the same.

For example, millions of freedom-loving citizens were furious with their incumbent politicians for having unsuccessfully backed Big Labor’s “card check” forced-unionism bill.

Two of the bitterest 2010 electoral defeats for union-label President Barack Obama (D) and his Administration were the ousters of anti-Right to Work U.S. Sens. Russ Feingold and Arlen Specter in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, respectively.

Mr. Feingold and Mr. Specter (who passed away in 2012) were replaced by two candidates pledging 100% opposition to compulsory unionism, Republicans Ron Johnson (Wis.) and Pat Toomey (Pa.).

Union Political Machine Now Gearing up to Recapture Senate Leadership Positions

The “shellacking” that President Obama grudgingly acknowledged voters dealt his congressional allies in 2010 was not so complete as to dethrone Big Labor politician Harry Reid (D-Nev.) from his perch of Senate majority leader.

But a second shellacking of Capitol Hill’s union-boss lackeys by angry voters in late 2014, when former “card-check” cosponsors Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) went down to defeat, finally consigned Mr. Reid to his chamber’s minority caucus.

This fall, AFL-CIO czar Richard Trumka and his cohorts are determined to take back the reins of the Senate.

Last month, Mr. Trumka boasted to Washington Post reporter Kelsey Snell about the vast electioneering scheme, funded primarily by union dues and fees forked over by millions of employees on pain of losing their jobs, he has in the works for 2016:

“We’ll have literally millions of phone calls, leaflets, door knocks, rallies and seminars.”

Drawing on a variety of published sources, the National Institute for Labor Relations Research estimates that Big Labor spent roughly $1.7 billion on politics and lobbying in 2013 and 2014.

Since the 2015-16 campaign cycle features an extraordinarily unpredictable presidential election, it’s safe to assume Mr. Trumka and his fellow union bosses will siphon off even more money from Big Labor’s forced-dues treasuries than they did the last time around.

And the union hierarchy will be funneling a disproportionately large share of its forced-dues-fueled money and manpower into states with “competitive Senate battles,” notably including Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.

‘Keeping a Low Profile’ Doesn’t Help Senators Stay Out Of Big Labor’s Cross-Hairs

National Right to Work Committee President Mark Mix commented:

“Ron Johnson, Pat Toomey, and Charles Grassley [R-Iowa] are three of the U.S. senators whom the union bosses are most optimistic about being able to defeat as part of their bid to remove Mitch McConnell [R-Ky.] from his Senate majority leadership position and replace him with one of their puppets.

“In addition to being high on Big Labor’s political ‘hit list,’ these three senators have at least two other important things in common.

“They all pledged to support Right to Work across-the-board during their successful 2010 campaigns.

“However, none of them has, up to now, cosponsored legislation to revoke the forced-dues privileges granted to Big Labor by federal law in the current Congress.

“Perhaps Sens. Johnson, Toomey and Grassley think that, if they keep low profiles on the Right to Work issue this year, Big Labor will be less likely to wage an all-out campaign to unseat them.

“But the fact is, ‘keeping a low profile’ has never been a good way for an elected official to stay out of union kingpins’ cross-hairs.”

Committee’s Goal Is to Revoke Longstanding Big Labor Privileges

To convince fence-sitting politicians to cosponsor and seek roll-call votes on national Right to Work legislation and also persuade Big Labor politicians to change course and stop supporting compulsory unionism, the Committee recently launched its federal Survey 2016 program.

As many Committee members know, the federal survey asks candidates to commit themselves to oppose forced unionism and support national Right to Work legislation if elected.

(Current senators who are seeking reelection, such as Mr. Johnson, Mr. Toomey, and Mr. Grassley, are also asked to demonstrate they mean what they say by cosponsoring S.391, the federal forced-dues repeal measure now before their chamber.)

Senate and House candidates are given several chances to return their surveys and answer 100% in favor of American employees’ Right to Work.

This year, as in previous federal election years, millions of grass-roots Right to Work supporters are being mobilized to lobby candidates to respond to their Committee surveys.

Ideal Is For All Candidates to Oppose Forced Unionism

“All major-party candidates as well as key significant third-party and independent candidates in every Senate and House race are asked to participate in the Right to Work survey program,” said Mr. Mix.

“And pro-Right to Work citizens in every state where there’s a Senate race and every House district are contacted and requested to help turn up the pressure on their candidates to respond to their surveys.

“But the Committee pours the vast majority of its survey resources and mobilizes far more freedom-loving activists for Senate and House races that are at least potentially close and in which at least one candidate has taken a strong stand in favor of Right to Work.”


The ideal for Right to Work leaders and members alike, said Mr. Mix, is for all the general-election candidates in a race to vow to oppose forced unionism.

But at the very least Right to Work supporters want one major-party candidate in each close race this November to be a credible opponent of Big Labor’s monopoly privileges.

“If, for example,” he said, “the Committee’s grass-roots mobilization over the next few months persuades Ron Johnson, Pat Toomey, and Charles Grassley to reaffirm what they said in  their 2010 campaign pledges by cosponsoring S.391, that will be a major step in the right direction for Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Iowa citizens.

“And let’s suppose the Survey 2016 program does not succeed in persuading the yet-to-be determined fall opponents of Mr. Johnson, Mr. Toomey, and Mr. Grassley to join them in supporting Right to Work.

“In that case, the Committee will do everything feasible to let freedom-loving people in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Iowa know about the contrasting positions of their Senate candidates on the Right to Work issue.

“I’m confident that, if there is a choice between a strongly pro-Right to Work candidate and a union-boss candidate, the pro-Right to Work candidate can prevail in all three states.”