U.S. Senators Seek New Ways to Force People to Pay Union Fees
Senators Seek to Drag More Workers Into Unions
Likely 2020 Democrat Presidential Hopefuls Target Right to Work
Several U.S. senators who have been named by Inside-the-D.C. Beltway pundits as potential contenders for the 2020 Democrat presidential nomination recently banded together to introduce legislation that would greatly expand Big Labor’s legal power to corral workers into unions whether the workers want them or not.
On May 9, Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), along with seven other members of Congress’ upper chamber, introduced the cynically mislabeled “Workplace Democracy Act,” or S.2810.
Along with its House companion measure, H.R.5728, introduced the same day by Wisconsin’s Mark Pocan (D) and 16 original cosponsors, S.2810 would gut Right to Work measures already adopted by 28 states and continuing to gain support at the state and federal levels.
But that’s just for starters.
Legislation Would ‘End’ Right to Work by Repealing Taft-Hartley 14(b)
The Sanders-Pocan scheme would, as a press release issued by the Green Mountain State senator bluntly acknowledged, “end” Right to Work protections for private sector workers across the U.S. “by repealing Section 14(b) of the Taft-Hartley Act . . . .”
Section 14(b) authorizes states to enact Right to Work laws prohibiting compulsory union membership and compulsory union financial support as a condition of employment.
If S.2810 or H.R.5728 were to become law, private sector employees in Right to Work states would no longer be protected from being forced to pay union dues or fees just to keep their jobs.
Section 14(b) Repeal Would Leave Job-Creating Firms With Nowhere to Flee
“Under Sanders-Pocan, job-creating businesses that have been harmed by Big Labor class warfare and/or forced union dues-funded Tax & Spend state politicians would no longer be able to mitigate the damage by growing and investing in a Right to Work state,” said National Right to Work Committee President Mark Mix.
“The practical results would include far fewer job opportunities and far slower real pay growth for hardworking Americans — that is, the exact opposite of what Bernie Sanders and Mark Pocan claim they want.”
In addition to foisting forced union financial support on millions of private sector employees who currently have a free choice, Sanders-Pocan would make it far easier for Big Labor to obtain “exclusive” (monopoly) bargaining power over employees.
And this remarkably radical legislation would also make it far easier for Big Labor to browbeat employers into consenting to fire employees who refuse to join or pay dues or fees to a union.
Specifically, S.2810/H.R.5728 would rewrite federal law concerning “card checks” to help union bosses shove hundreds of thousands of small businesses and millions of additional workers under Big Labor control.
Under current law, union bosses are already able to acquire monopoly power to negotiate employees’ pay, benefits, and work rules solely through the collection of signed “union authorization cards.”
Consequently, individual workers under the peering eyes of union organizers may be intimidated into signing not just themselves, but also all of their union-free fellow employees, over to union-boss control.
Big Labor Would be Able to Circumvent Altogether Unionized Workers’ Wishes
However, as stacked as current law is in favor of Big Labor’s forced-unionism power, employers nevertheless retain the right to stand up for their independent employees against union-boss intimidation tactics.
The Sanders-Pocan legislation would empower union officials to impose forced unionism through card check automatically, with no recourse for any pro-Right to Work employee or employer.
Moreover, under Sanders-Pocan, if union heads and employers negotiating a first contract fail to make a deal within roughly four months, then a federal “arbitration panel” will unilaterally implement a contract binding for two years on union members and non-members alike.
“Sanders-Pocan would enable union bosses with monopoly-bargaining power to circumvent altogether the wishes of unionized workers by prevailing upon federal bureaucrats to give them forced-dues privileges,” said Mr. Mix.
“And workers couldn’t do anything about it for a minimum of two years!”
“If the 14(b) repeal, card check, and multiple other forced-unionism provisions in the cynically mislabeled “Workplace Democracy Act” were to become law, the results would be a devastating loss of personal freedom for workers and a shipwreck for the U.S. economy,” charged Mr. Mix.
Loss of Right to Work Engine Would be Devastating For America as a Whole
As an illustration of the potential economic damage, Mr. Mix pointed to America’s manufacturing sector.
“In 2017,” he noted, “81,800 out of the 88,000 net manufacturing jobs added nationwide were located in states where Right to Work laws have been adopted and are being enforced.
“In other words, 93% of the total U.S. factory job increase for 2017 over 2016 occurred in Right to Work states.
“And while the Right to Work manufacturing advantage has widened recently, it has been substantial for many years. From 2012 to 2017, manufacturing employment expanded by 5.5% in the 23 states that had Right to Work laws on the books for the entire five years.
“That’s more than triple the 1.7% gain for the 22 states that were still forced-unionism in 2017.
“Without Right to Work states, there would certainly be far fewer jobs created in the U.S. as a whole. And job seekers who couldn’t find good-paying positions in slow-growth forced-unionism states would no longer have anywhere to flee.”
Union-Boss Stranglehold Over Beltway Politicians Threatens Right to Work
Of course, since the Democrat Senate caucus with which Mr. Sanders is aligned and the Democrat House caucus to which Mr. Pocan belongs are both in the minority, it is unlikely they will be able to fulfill their ambition to destroy Right to Work in the immediate future.
But Right to Work advocates should keep in mind it was just seven-and-a-half years ago that union-label Democrat politicians held operational control over the White House and both chambers of Congress.
“The fact that contenders for the 2020 Democrat presidential nomination as well as rank-and-file Democrats from Right to Work states like Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin are eagerly signing on to S.2810 and H.R.5728 is very disturbing,” said Mr. Mix.
“Right to Work protections for employees will never really be secure until union bosses’ lock-grip over one of the two major political parties in the U.S. comes to an end.”