Congress Can’t Dodge the Right to Work Issue

Congresswoman Elaine Luria on Right to Work laws
After freedom-loving Virginia constituents were informed about Congresswoman Elaine Luria’s votes to destroy Right to Work laws in their state and 26 others, she was defeated in 2022 by a 100% pro-Right to Work challenger. (Credit: Mobilus in Mobili/Wikimedia Commons)

Bill Directly Targets ‘Unacceptable’ Compulsory-Dues Status Quo

In the 2021-2022 Congress, National Right to Work Committee members and supporters played a critical role in stopping Big Labor’s push to wipe out all 27 state Right to Work laws.

In March 2021, union-label politicians in the House rubber-stamped the “PRO” Act, which would have destroyed Right to Work nationwide if it hadn’t been stalled in the Senate.

Then, during last fall’s federal elections, six U.S. House candidates who pledged 100% support for Right to Work won seats previously held by pro-forced-unionism Democrats. They thus delivered the exact number of victories needed to end Big Labor California politician Nancy Pelosi’s tenure as speaker with her party’s loss of control over Congress’s lower chamber.

National Right to Work Act Introduced in Congress

Thanks to the grassroots pressure applied by the Committee’s activists, hundreds of other congressional candidates signed the Committee’s survey, pledging to expand the Right to Work to all 50 states, instead of repealing it.

Now Committee activists will work to ensure that those promises are kept by building support for new legislation just introduced by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.).

At the end of February, Mr. Paul and Mr. Wilson, together with numerous original cosponsors, put in the hopper the National Right to Work Act, a bill that would give Right to Work protections to workers across the country. (House and Senate numbers for this legislation were not yet available as this Newsletter edition went to press.)

Over the rest of this year and in 2024, Committee staff will work to garner support for the bill, and request that it be put to a vote, so that Right to Work supporters know exactly where their representatives stand on forced union dues.

The bill doesn’t add a single word to federal law. It simply repeals the sections of the National Labor Relations Act and Railway Labor Act that currently allow union bosses to take money from workers’ paychecks without their consent.

The Taft-Hartley Act of 1947 made progress by explicitly authorizing individual states to exempt their workers from forced dues by passing Right to Work laws. But the National Right to Work Act would get rid of the forced-dues problem altogether, restoring American workers’ right to decide whether union bosses deserve their money.

Bill Protects Worker Choice

Despite what Big Labor and its acolytes argue, there is simply no credible justification for forcing employees to bankroll a union if they choose not to belong to it.

While some workers undoubtedly deem union membership a valuable prerogative that’s worth their money, others legitimately view union bosses as mere political actors who produce little more than workplace discord.

The fact is, even a number of academic apologists for Organized Labor admit that exceptionally productive workers typically get paid less when they are unionized.

A case in point is Richard Rothstein, now a distinguished fellow with the union boss-founded Economic Policy Institute.

In a brief survey of union-friendly academic literature on the impact of “exclusive” union bargaining on the pay of employees with diverse levels of skill and industriousness, Mr. Rothstein has bluntly written: “In [unionized] firms, wages of lower paid workers are raised above the market rate, with the increase offset . . . [in part] by reducing pay of the most productive workers.”

When a worker’s pay is reduced by a monopoly-bargaining contract, unionization is not only unbeneficial; it is an active detriment to his or her wellbeing.

The National Right to Work Act leaves it up to individual workers to resolve the question of whether a union is right for them. It bars no one from joining a union, but ensures that union membership and dues payment are never mandatory.

“We are grateful to Sen. Paul and Rep. Wilson for leading the charge against forced union dues,” said Committee Vice President Greg Mourad.

“The Committee will work tirelessly this year and the next to build support for this legislation, and to reveal to citizens which of their elected representatives support worker freedom, and which are protecting the unacceptable forced-dues status quo.”

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

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