Right to Work State Politicians Voting to Impose Forced Unionism on Their Own Voters

Nearly 70 Members of Congress Representing Right to Work States Declare War on 14(b) -that Grants State Right to Work Laws

Early this year, 225 members of the U.S. House of Representatives, including 69 from Right to Work states, voted for H.R.842, legislation that would cut the heart out of every state Right to Work statute and constitutional provision that is currently on the books.

This scheme, cynically mislabeled as the “Protecting the Right to Organize” Act, or PRO Act, was rubber-stamped by the House on March 9. 

Its core provision would insert language in federal labor law that renders Section 14(b) of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) meaningless.

Richard Trumka, Nancy Pelosi
Having to choose AFL-CIO kingpin Richard Trumka and Big Labor House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), or their constituents, 69 House members from Right to Work states chose Mr. Trumka and Ms. Pelosi. (Credit: J. Scott Applewhite AP)

Decision of 225 House Members to ‘Kowtow to the Union Brass’ Is ‘Disturbing’

Since 1947, Section 14(b) has explicitly recognized that states have the authority to protect employees from being corralled into a labor organization, even though federal law generally permits forced unionism.

But H.R.842, aptly labeled as the Pushbutton-Unionism Bill, states that the extraction of forced fees from employees for union monopoly bargaining, regardless of whether it benefits or hurts them personally, shall be “valid” notwithstanding “any State or Territorial law.”

National Right to Work Committee President Mark Mix commented:

“For the second time in as many years, the U.S. House has voted to obliterate the individual employee’s freedom to choose not to bankroll an unwanted union in Right to Work states that already have state laws protecting this freedom.

“Last year, Committee members and supporters regrouped after the House rubber-stamped destruction of Section 14(b) of the Taft-Hartley NLRA Amendment and led the successful battle to save state Right to Work laws by preventing a vote in the Senate.

“This year, Committee members are cautiously optimistic Right to Work destruction can once again be blocked in Congress’s upper chamber, despite Big Labor lackey Chuck Schumer’s [D-N.Y.] recent installation as majority leader …

“Of course, the decision of 225 House members to kowtow to the union brass once again is disturbing.

“After all, thanks largely to Committee supporters’ grit and determination, there are 27 state Right to Work laws in effect today, and more than half of the U.S. workforce is protected by one of them. 

“Over the past six decades, Big Labor has spent vast sums of money on state-level efforts to wipe out Right to Work laws.

“But during this entire period, it has had no success in any state whose citizens have had the opportunity to experience, even for a short time, what prohibiting forced union dues and fees means in practice.”

Back H.R. 842 Unreservedly, Or Big Labor Won’t Give You ‘A Dollar or a Door Knock’

“Why,” asked Mr. Mix, “did nearly 70 U.S. representatives from Right to Work states just vote to foist on their states a coercive labor regime that their constituents have manifestly rejected?”

Among the 69 solons, some, including 

H.R.842 lead sponsor Bobby Scott (D-Va.), seem to be tunnel-visioned proponents of compulsory unionism, plain and simple, noted Mr. Mix.

But many others, he added, appear to have been intimidated by Big Labor into backing this radically anti-Right to Work legislation against their own better judgment.

Just before Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) held the first House roll-call vote on the Pushbutton-Unionism Bill last year, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka warned every member of the chamber that nothing less than their wholehearted support for this scheme would be regarded by Big Labor as acceptable: 

“Those who would oppose, delay or derail this legislation, do not ask us — do not ask the [Organized] [L]abor movement — for a dollar or a door knock. We won’t be coming.”

‘American Dream’ Lives In Right to Work States

“Having to choose Richard Trumka or their constituents, 69 Right to Work state solons just chose Mr. Trumka,” said Mr. Mix.

“The Pushbutton-Unionism Bill is a smorgasbord of special-interest delights for the union hierarchy. Right to Work destruction is the worst provision of all, but many others are also virulently anti-employee. 

“For example, one provision in H.R.842 and its Senate companion, S.420, would statutorily mandate that, almost as soon as any union certification campaign begins, employers hand over employee phone numbers, e-mail addresses, and work schedules to union organizers.

“Employers would permanently be required to hand over to union organizers the personal information of all employees who might be unionized, including employees who personally asked their employer not to do it.

“If the 14(b) evisceration and other pro-forced unionism provisions in the PRO Act are adopted, the results will be disastrous for workers’ living standards as well as for their personal freedom.”

As an example, Mr. Mix cited recently-updated U.S. Bureau of the Census (BOC) data showing that it is far less difficult to make the transition from renter to homeowner in Right to Work states than in states where employees aren’t protected from compulsory unionism:

“The BOC’s tracking of housing authorizations show there were 4.2  permits for construction of new privately-owned single-unit houses per 1,000 residents in the 27 Right to Work states as a group last year.

“That’s nearly two-and-a-half times the 2020 average in the 23 remaining forced-dues states.”

‘Nowhere to Flee’ For Families Who Couldn’t Afford to Buy a Home

“Without Right to Work states,” Mr. Mix continued, “there would certainly be far fewer jobs that pay enough to buy a nearby single-family home created across the U.S.

“And families who couldn’t afford to buy a home in slow-growth forced-unionism states wouldn’t have anywhere to flee.

“A future without Right to Work protections anywhere in the U.S. might seem like a dream come true to union bosses who care only about how much money they can extract from workers, and how much money they have to spend on pampering themselves and keeping politicians at their beck-and-call. 

“For ordinary Americans, however, it would be a nightmare.

“The politicians voting for the Pushbutton-Unionism Bill in the face of public opposition to compulsory unionism that is now as overwhelming and passionate as it has ever been can be expected to face harsh electoral repercussions in 2022 and beyond,” predicted Mr. Mix.

“Right to Work activists across the country should call every politician who voted for this massive Big Labor power grab in the House, and demand an apology for their vote to put the shackles of forced unionism on independent-minded employees in every state in America.”

The Pushbutton-Unionism Bill has now advanced to the Senate, where 45 senators have sponsored or cosponsored it already. 

If 50 senators sign on to S.420, Majority Leader Schumer has promised to bring it to the floor for a vote.

Members Urged to Contact Every Politician Who Supports Power Grab

And this is happening amidst mounting, Big Labor-endorsed efforts to remove the 60-vote filibuster rule that currently prevents partisan bills from passing the Senate with only 51 votes.

Mr. Mix emphasized that the fight over the Pushbutton-Unionism Bill is only beginning:

“With Chuck Schumer vowing to abolish the filibuster in order to force the Pushbutton Unionism Bill through the Senate, and with Joe Biden promising to sign this power grab if it reaches his desk, Right to Work supporters need to make their voices heard in the Senate. 

“I urge all Committee members to call their senators at 202-224-3121 and tell them that support for this disastrous bill is unacceptable.”  

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