House Approved Right to Work Destruction

On February 6, radical union bosses like Communications Workers of America (CWA/AFL-CIO) bigwig Chris Shelton cheered as their handpicked politicians rammed H.R.2474 through the U.S. House. The Senate is Right to Work’s firewall. Credit: Communication Workers of America (CWA/AFL-CIO), Creative Commons

Battle to Stop Nationwide Forced Union Fees Moves to the Senate

Acting at the behest of compulsory dues-hungry union bosses, 224 Big Labor members of the U.S. House of Representatives have just voted to rubber-stamp legislation (H.R.2474) that would foist a forced-unionism regime on the entire nation.

The lead sponsor of the H.R.2474 power grab, Virginia Congressman Bobby Scott (D), has cynically mislabeled it as the “Protecting the Right to Organize” Act, or PRO Act.

The battle over the PRO Act now moves to the U.S. Senate, where union-label politician Patty Murray (D-Wash.) is the sponsor of virtually identical companion legislation (S.1306).

“The PRO Act is a smorgasbord of special-interest delights for the union hierarchy,” said National Right to Work Committee President Mark Mix.

Scheme Would Override Every State Right to Work Law Currently on the Books

“It is also a blueprint for what House Speaker Nancy Pelosi [D-Calif.], Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer [D-N.Y.], and other Big Labor politicians have in store for America as soon as they get control of the White House and both chambers of Congress,” Mr. Mix continued.

“Among all the objectionable provisions in the PRO Act, the single most outrageous one would amend the National Labor Relations Act [NLRA] to empower private-sector union bosses in all 50 states, including erstwhile Right to Work states, to force employees to pay union fees against their will.”

Today 27 states have Right to Work laws on the books that prohibit the termination of employees for refusal to join or pay dues or fees to a union they don’t want, and never asked for.

Right to Work State Citizens Have Steadfastly Resisted Big Labor Repeal Schemes

Democrat congressional honchos like Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) are grimly determined to obliterate Right to Work protections nationwide. If they succeed, millions will be herded back on to Big Labor’s “plantation.” Credit: J Scott Applewhite/AP

These laws enjoy overwhelming public support in jurisdictions where they have been adopted and are in effect.

Big Labor has spent vast sums of money over the years on state-level efforts to wipe out Right to Work laws.

But it has had no success over the past six-and-a-half decades 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.

Unfortunately, a majority of House members, including 66 from Right to Work states, voted February 6 to give the green light to H.R.2474, which would override the wishes of the 166 million current residents of Right to Work states, who overwhelmingly oppose forced union dues and fees.

The PRO Act would also block the citizens of the remaining 23 forced-unionism states from passing new Right to Work laws to unchain employees in their jurisdictions.

Scheme ‘Establishes’ That Union Bosses ‘in All 50 States’ May Collect Forced Fees

Mr. Mix noted:  “Union operatives and their apologists are making no bones about the fact that the PRO Act would wipe out more than 70 years of Right to Work progress.”

As an example, Mr. Mix cited a handout touting H.R.2474/S.1306 by Celine McNicholas and Lynn Rhinehart, two staffers for the Big Labor-founded Economic Policy Institute (EPI), a self-styled “think tank” in Washington, D.C.

The PRO Act, exult Ms. McNicholas and Ms. Rhinehart, “overrides . . . ‘right-to-work’ laws by establishing” that union bosses “in all 50 states” may cut workplace deals granting them the power to force employees to pay fees to Big Labor, or be fired.

Ms. McNicholas and Ms. Rhinehart blithely assume Big Labor should be empowered to extract forced fees from workers who don’t agree with the union, never sought the union, and would vote against unionism if they could.

But even their fellow forced-unionism proponent Richard Rothstein, a “distinguished fellow” at the very organization where they work, admits that dissenting workers may well be 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 union “exclusivity” are those who are especially talented and/or hardworking.

Right to Work States Are Where ‘the People and the Money Are Moving’

“The Scott-Murray bill,” explained Mr. Mix, “cuts the heart out of state Right to Work statutes and constitutional provisions.

“It does this by inserting language in federal labor law stating 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.’

“If the state Right to Work destruction and other pro-forced unionism provisions in the PRO Act are adopted, the results will be a devastating loss of personal freedom for workers and a shipwreck for the U.S. economy.”

As an example, Mr. Mix cited the U.S. Commerce Department’s recently updated statistics regarding growth in output in automotive manufacturing, as measured in constant, chained 2012 dollars:

“Excluding the five states that passed and began enforcing Right to Work laws between 2012 and 2017 and considering just the 22 states that had already banned forced unionism in 2007, the Right to Work share of automotive manufacturing grew from 47.8%  to 61.3% over the next decade.

“Real automotive manufacturing GDP in these 22 states grew by 41.1% from 2007 to 2017, while it fell by 18.5% in the 23 states that were still forced-unionism as of the end of 2017.

“The loss of such investments in Right to Work states where, in the words of pro-forced unionism journalist C.J. Atkins, ‘the people and the money are moving,’ would be devastating for the national economy.”

Politicians Who Support PRO Act Could Face Harsh Electoral Consequences

“Without Right to Work states,” Mr. Mix continued, “there would certainly be far fewer jobs created in the U.S. as a whole. And job seekers who couldn’t find good-paying jobs in slow-growth forced-unionism states wouldn’t have anywhere to flee.”

(See the article on p. 8 of this Newsletter for more information.)

Unfortunately, Big Labor lobbyists’ domination of the House is so extraordinary that Right to Work members and supporters had no chance of stopping H.R.2474 when it came to the House floor.

While Right to Work leaders are taking nothing for granted, they are much more hopeful about being able to stall the PRO Act through a massive citizen mobilization before it comes up for Senate consideration.

“The politicians voting for the PRO Act in the face of public opposition to compulsory unionism that is now as overwhelming and passionate as it ever has been can be expected to face harsh electoral repercussions in 2020 and beyond,” predicted Mr. Mix.