Union Bosses Saw Opportunity to Kill a State Right to Work Law
Had union-label Democrat nominee Terry McAuliffe won the Virginia gubernatorial race while Big Labor politicians in his party kept control over the state House of Delegates on November 2, the Old Dominion’s popular, 75-year-old Right to Work law could have been in jeopardy.
In April, Mr. McAuliffe had admitted in a videotaped interview that he would sign legislation repealing Right to Work and permitting forced union dues and fees as a job condition if given the opportunity.
And in September, Del. Luke Torian (D-Prince William), the powerful chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, announced in a constituent mailing that, if his party retained control of the legislative agenda in 2022, it would aggressively attempt to destroy Right to Work and reinstate forced unionism in Virginia.
Democrat Sellout to Union Bosses Put to Abrupt Stop After Years of Preparation
As Virginia’s governor from 2014-18, Mr. McAuliffe was constrained by strong pro-Right to Work majorities in the General Assembly. He had little incentive then to declare war on the Commonwealth’s cherished tradition of worker freedom.
But after union-label Democrat politicians took over the General Assembly with ample Big Labor financial and manpower support in November 2019, the claws came out.
Those efforts were thwarted due to fierce public opposition, largely mobilized by the National Right to Work Committee.
But union lobbyists pushed through several other important items on their legislative wish list, including repeal of the Old Dominion’s long-standing ban on government-sector union monopoly bargaining.
In 2021, union bosses smelled blood in the water.
By sweeping the November elections, they anticipated they would be ready this winter to repeal Right to Work and make public-sector monopoly bargaining mandatory for all levels of government in the Old Dominion, entrenching themselves as the most powerful lobby in Richmond.
Union kingpins showered Mr. McAuliffe and other Virginia Democrat politicians with millions of dollars in campaign largesse.
Over the course of this last year, the former governor raised approximately $7.5 million in cash alone from Big Labor, while candidates for the rest of the Democratic ticket and the state Democratic Party raised an additional $4.7 million in cash from the union political machine.
This over $12 million “investment” into Virginia by Big Labor was supplemented by millions and millions of dollars in unreported spending on union phone banks, get-out-the-vote drives, campaign staff, and much more.
Pro-Right to Work Forces Successfully Pushed Back
It all came to naught. Republican Glenn Youngkin, who regularly touted his unabashed support for Right to Work on the campaign trail, won the governorship. Right to Work supporters also captured Virginia’s two other statewide elected offices.
Meanwhile, union boss-allied House Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn’s (Fairfax) Democrat caucus apparently shrank from 55 to 48 seats in the 100-member chamber, putting her in the minority.
Big Labor’s debacle was in part due to the Committee’s investment in its voter education and mobilization program.
Over the course of the campaign, the Committee sent over 750,000 mail communications across the Commonwealth to educate voters on where candidates stood with respect to freedom and coercion in the workplace.
Of these, roughly 70,000 specifically targeted 40 competitive House of Delegates races that would determine control of that chamber.
As these mailings were sent out, thousands of Committee members made independent efforts to elect freedom-supporting candidates across Virginia.
Two races, in which pro-Right to Work candidates Kim Taylor and Tara Durant respectively unseated egregiously anti-freedom incumbents Lashrecse Aird (D-Petersburg) and Joshua Cole (D-Fredericksburg), stood out. Ms. Aird and Mr. Cole have both beaten the drum for Right to Work repeal for years.
The Petersburg and Fredericksburg results, plus those in several other districts, yielded a pro-Right to Work House majority.
With opponents of forced unionism taking over all state executive offices and the House leadership, the main obstacle now to rolling back Big Labor’s 2020 power plays is the Senate, where no seats were up for grabs last November.
“With union-label politician Richard Saslaw [D-Fairfax] almost certainly staying on as Senate majority leader, it won’t be easy for Virginia to wash its hands of 2020’s legislative follies,” admitted Right to Work Committee Vice President John Kalb.
“But thanks partly to the success of the Committee’s 2021 state survey program, freedom-loving Virginians have at least a fighting chance this year.”