(Source: January 2011 NRTWC Newsletter)
Forced-Dues Clauses in Federal Labor Statutes Ripe For Repeal
There appears to be light at the end of the forced-unionism tunnel for America’s workers.
In last year’s elections, disgusted voters repudiated the Big Labor agenda. Now Right to Work advocates are calling on the incoming Republican U.S. House leadership to allow hearings and a vote on national Right to Work legislation some time during the 2011-2012 Congress.
Although Right to Work measures have repeatedly been introduced over the years, House leaders in both parties have thwarted efforts to hold roll-call votes on legislation striking out the provisions in federal law that force millions of workers from coast to coast to pay union dues just to keep their jobs.
“Naturally, Big Labor House Democrats don’t want to cast public votes to force American workers to continue to subsidize their campaigns with their union dues and fees,” observed Greg Mourad, legislative director for the National Right to Work Committee.
“What’s really strange is that, in the past, GOP speakers have been willing to let union-label Democrat politicians off the hook. But Right to Work supporters are already mobilizing to bring about a different outcome in the 112th Congress.”
Forced Dues Enshrined In Federal Labor Law
The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), which Congress first adopted in 1935 and has since only modified, not fundamentally changed, actually contains specific language protecting employee rights to join or refrain from joining a union.
But it’s just a cruel joke. Why? Congress gutted its pious proclamations of worker freedom with “exceptions” such as the one tacked on to NLRA Section 7. Section 7’s conclusion has trampled workers’ freedom for three-quarters of a century, and is one of the most cynical exercises in legislative deception on record.
Employees, Congress says, shall have full freedom to refrain from joining (or financially supporting) a union, except “to the extent that such right may be affected by an agreement requiring union membership as a condition of employment . . . .”
“Simply by repealing this and a handful of other exemptions in the NLRA and the Railway Labor Act [RLA], Congress can reinstate a fundamental freedom for workers across the entire country,” said Mr. Mourad.
Over the past 75 years, federally-imposed compulsory unionism has been granted ample opportunity to prove itself as a viable means of governing labor-management relations. The results of the experiment are in, and compulsory unionism has proven a dismal failure.
Time and again, in industry after industry, compulsory unionism has spawned productivity-killing Big Labor work rules and workplace strife. These in turn have resulted in fewer jobs and less real income growth for employees.
Restoring Right to Work Would Help Workers, Employers
“The experience of the 22 states that already circumvent the NLRA by banning forced union dues and fees indicates strongly that national Right to Work legislation will benefit employees economically, in addition to protecting their liberty,” said Mr. Mourad.
“But protecting employees’ liberty, including but not reserved to their political free speech, is Right to Work laws’ primary aim.”
Forced-dues repeal would ensure workers have a practicable right not to bankroll the gigantic union political machine, which is estimated to have pumped more than a billion dollars in reported and unreported contributions into the 2010 congressional elections.
Federal Right To Work Law Key For Stopping Forced-Dues Politicking
The Supreme Court’s 1988 Beck decision, argued and won by National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation attorneys, bans the collection and use of objecting workers’ forced union dues and fees for lobbying and politics.
But union officials have largely evaded Beck by making it extraordinarily difficult for forced dues-paying employees to exercise their rights under the ruling.
“It’s becoming increasingly clear that the only permanent solution to forced-dues political corruption is legislation that completely bans forced unionism,” said Mr. Mourad.
“Under a national Right to Work law, employees could with far less difficulty exercise their legal and moral right to refuse to subsidize union chieftains’ politics.
“But the only way we’ll get even a House hearing on a national Right to Work measure may be for Right to Work members to make so much noise that the politicians bring it up just to keep peace and quiet.”
Mr. Mourad and other Committee legislative staff are already laying the groundwork for federal forced-dues repeal by holding discussions with key members of Congress.
In addition to pressing for hearings and a floor vote in the House, the Committee is also working with Senate allies on a strategy to secure a floor vote in the Big Labor Democrat-controlled upper chamber by bringing it up as an amendment to related legislation.
Committee members are urged to join the effort by contacting their representatives and senators, and asking them to sign on as cosponsors of national Right to Work legislation as soon as it is introduced. You may contact your senators directly through the National Right To Work Legislative Action Center or by calling (202)224-3121 or (202)225-3121, Capitol switchboard.