Delegate Lee Carter Wants To Impose Forced-Unionism on Virginians and He’s Not Alone

Virginia Solons and ‘Tyrannical’ Compulsion

Many Virginia working men and women believe, with good reason, that they are harmed by unionization, but Big Labor Delegate Lee Carter (right) thinks he knows better. Jefferson decried such politicians’ “impious presumption.”
Credit (left to right): Universal History Archive/Getty Images, Code Blue

Right to Work Law Under Attack in the Land of Thomas Jefferson

To “compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the prop-agation of opinions” he “disbelieves” is “sinful and tyrannical.”

So wrote Thomas Jefferson, primary author of the Declaration of Independence and future U.S. President and founder of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, in 1779.

Today, Jefferson’s conviction that “the opinions of men are not the object of civil government” is enshrined in Virginia’s 72-year-old Right to Work Law.

This statute prohibits union bosses from wielding their federal government-granted monopoly privileges to get employees fired for refusal to pay union dues or fees.

Unfortunately, a number of junior Virginia politicians do not share Jefferson’s reverence for individual liberty.

Monopolistic Unionism ‘Reduc[es] Pay of the Most Productive Workers’

On December 28, Big Labor radical Delegate Lee Carter (D-Manassas) introduced H.B.1806, legislation that would repeal the Right to Work provision (Article 3 of Chapter IV of Title 40.1) that has been in the Code of Virginia since 1947 and add a provision that explicitly authorizes compulsory union fees.

National Right to Work Committee Vice President John Kalb explained:

“If H.B.1806 is approved by the Virginia General Assembly and signed by union-label Democrat Gov. Ralph Northam, employees across the Old Dominion will be compelled to pay Big Labor bosses just to get or keep a job.

“Employees who refuse to hand over their hard-earned money will be fired — plain and simple.”

Mr. Kalb added that the injustice of the forced union financial support that is authorized and promoted by federal labor policy is magnified when the victimized workers are actually getting paid less as a consequence of being under union monopoly control.

Among the types of workers whose paychecks are often smaller because they are subject to so-called union “exclusivity” are those who are especially talented and/or hardworking.

In fact, over the years, a number of academic apologists for Organized Labor have made no bones about the fact that workers whose productivity is above average typically get paid less when they are unionized. Take, for example, Richard Rothstein, now a distinguished fellow with the relentlessly pro-Big Labor 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 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. If firms with this practice are rare, competitors will be able to bid away their best workers.”

Living Standards Generally Higher in Right to Work States, Highest in Virginia

Mr. Kalb commented: “In addition to being tyrannical and unjust, the forced-unionism system is associated with less real, spendable income for people from all walks of life.”

He cited a recent study by the National Institute for Labor Relations Research that adjusts mean household incomes in the 50 states as reported by the U.S. Census Bureau for regional differences in the cost of living and tax burdens.

“In 2017,” said Mr. Kalb, “the average Right to Work state household had a cost of living-adjusted, after-tax income of $57,416, roughly $4,500 more than the forced-unionism state average.

“And Right to Work Virginia’s real spendable income per household was $65,959, more than $13,000 higher than the forced-unionism average and the highest in the nation.” 

‘A Growing Reversal From’ 70 Years of ‘Bipartisan Consensus’

In addition to Mr. Carter, a number of other radical state politicians in Virginia, including Delegate Cheryl Turpin (D-Virginia Beach) and 2019 House candidates Tristan Shields, Shelly Simonds, and Jess Foster, have recently signaled their opposition to Right to Work.

As the Richmond-based Republican Standard has observed, the willingness of officeholders and would-be officeholders in Virginia to come out in favor of corralling workers into unions signals “a growing reversal” from 70 years of “bipartisan consensus” in the state.

“There is no doubt that a rising share of elected officials in Virginia are dependent on the Big Labor machine to get in power and stay in power,” said Mr. Kalb. “But ordinary Virginians continue overwhelmingly to support their Right to Work law.

“The National Right to Work Committee is based in northern Virginia, and is prepared to initiate a full-scale mobilization of grass-roots forced-unionism foes to stop H.B.1806 if necessary.

“The Committee is also prepared, in the Virginia state elections that will take place this year, to let freedom-loving citizens know which of their politicians are defending their cherished Right to Work law, and which are attacking it.”

(source: March 2019 National Right to Work Newsletter)