Last week, U.S. Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) and 76 original House cosponsors introduced in the 2015-2016 Congress legislation that would bar the firing of employees for refusal to pay union dues or fees. (See the link below for more information.)
The simple principle behind King’s bill, known as the National Right to Work Act, or H.R.612, is that the federal government should not authorize a labor union or any other private organization to compel financial support from people who don’t want to be members.
As King pointed out at the time H.R.612 was introduced, 24 states have already exercised their prerogative, explicitly recognized in Sec. 14(b) of the 1947 Taft-Hartley Amendments to the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), to shield the employees in their jurisdictions from forced union assessments.
The state Right to Work laws on the books mitigate the harm wrought by federally-imposed forced union dues, but the genuine solution to the problem starts with Congress, which created the mess in the first place when it passed the original NLRA in 1935. King and his cosponsors, along with Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who has announced he will soon introduce companion legislation in Congress’s upper chamber, deserve commendation for trying to clean up the mess.
The fact is, conscientious and talented employees are all too often harmed when they are forced, by government policy, to accept an unwanted union as their “exclusive” bargaining agent on matters concerning their pay, benefits and working conditions.
Harvard economist Richard Freeman, arguably the leading academic apologist for monopolistic unionism in the U.S., has actually paid tribute to union bosses’ remarkable success in “removing performance judgments as a factor in determining individual workers’ pay.”
And when unionized employees who would surely get paid more if their employer could take their personal performance into account are forced to pay dues or fees to the very union bosses who prevent their employer from doing so — that’s like pouring salt in a wound.