More Than 87% of House GOP Backs Right to Work

But Handful of GOP Representatives Side With AFL-CIO Hierarchy

Mark Mix: Time and again, Big Labor-appeasing GOP politicians in Congress and in state capitols have been run over by the union juggernaut. Dozens of House Republicans could suffer the same fate in 2022.

In the fall of 2000, just over two decades ago, 17 Republican U.S. senators were on a general-election ballot for the first time after taking part in the Senate’s first-ever vote on national Right to Work legislation. At least one-half of the GOP incumbents who ran for re-election were considered to be vulnerable that year. Big Labor bosses targeted them all for defeat. In state after state, union bosses’ forced dues-financed get-out-the-vote drives, phone banks, and propaganda mailings attacking Republican senators were intense. But every one of the eight GOP senators on the ballot who had voted in favor of the National Right to Work Act won re-election anyway.

Big Labor Bosses Dumped Their Senate GOP Allies

One of the eight winners was Montana’s Conrad Burns, who just before Election Day had been branded as a likely loser by the oft-cited Rothenberg Political Report.

Sen. Burns defeated his Big Labor-backed challenger by a 51%-48% margin.

Meanwhile, five GOP senators who had heeded Big Labor orders to help union lobbyists kill national Right to Work legislation went down to defeat.

Union boss-appeasing Sens. Spencer Abraham (R-Mich.), John Ashcroft (R-Mo.), Slade Gorton (R-Wash.), Rod Grams (R-Minn.), and William Roth (R-Del.) were unceremoniously dumped by Big Labor.

The difference between them and senators like Conrad Burns was, when union propagandists attacked the GOP senators who had voted to kill the Right to Work Bill, those senators had no moral standing to declare that they, and not the union bosses, were the true defenders of employees’ rights and freedom.

Meanwhile, the eight victorious pro-Right to Work senators had plainly stood up for freedom.  

‘Five GOP Senators Got Swallowed up by the Maw’ Of the Union Political Machine

National Right to Work Committee President Mark Mix commented:

“The 2000 U.S. Senate elections, in which five GOP senators got swallowed up by the maw of the Big Labor political machine after trying to placate the AFL-CIO brass, is just one of many illustrations over the years of how appeasing monopolistic unionism doesn’t work.”

With ‘Friends’ Like Government Union Bosses, ‘Who Needs Enemies?’

Another compelling illustration was highlighted in a column by Gina Diorio of Commonwealth Partners Chamber of Entrepreneurs. The column was published this April in the Mercury, a daily newspaper in Pottstown, Pa.

Ms. Diorio explained how, in 2018, a Keystone State union front group known as the “Fund for Change” successfully targeted for defeat six state House Republicans and two state Senate Republicans who had all sided with Big Labor on a key compulsory unionism-related vote the year before.

As Ms. Diorio noted, Fund for Change, which has raked in a total of nearly $5.5 million in donations in just a little over three years, much of it union treasury and PAC money, seems to be especially “fond of targeting Republicans who’ve sided with government unions.”

With “friends” like government union bosses, she concluded, “Who needs enemies?”

Most Current U.S. House Republicans Seem to Have Gotten the Message

This March, 25 years after the first-ever Senate vote on a measure repealing the handful of federal labor law provisions that authorize and promote forced union dues and fees, the House followed suit.

Congressman Joe Wilson (R-S.C.), with the active support of National Right to Work, forced the members of his chamber to vote directly on the federal policy of forced financial support for unions for the first time since 1947.

In the recorded vote on Mr. Wilson’s National Right to Work Amendment to the so-called “Protecting the Right to Organize” (“PRO”) Act, 43% of all the House members who voted supported Right to Work, compared to just 31% of senators voting on essentially the same measure in 1996. 

“The significant Right to Work progress since 1996 apparently reflects the fact that the vast majority of Republican politicians in Washington, including those representing the 23 remaining forced-dues states, have gotten the message that Big Labor appeasement is a bad electoral strategy” explained Mr. Mix.

“In 1996, more than 40% of the Republicans who voted sided with Big Labor. This year, 87% of Republicans stood up for the Right to Work.” 

Even Republicans From Forced-Dues States Voted Heavily For Right to Work

Mr. Mix added:

“Even if you focus only on GOP House members who hail from one of the minority of states that have yet to pass a statute and/or a constitutional amendment banning forced union dues as a job condition, support for Right to Work is still an impressive 73%.

“That’s not as lopsided as the incredible 96% of Republicans representing the 27 Right to Work states who voted to repeal federally imposed forced unionism, but it’s still a solid majority.

“Even the GOP caucus from Big Labor-dominated California voted uniformly for Right to Work. 

“The fact that 184 Republican representatives, plus Texas Democrat Henry Cuellar, stood up to the union bosses shows that more and more elected officials in Washington, D.C., have begun to recognize that it’s politically smart for them to oppose forced unionism.

“However, a handful of members of the GOP House caucus, including eight from Right to Work states, somehow have failed to get the message up to now.

“In addition to the two dozen Republicans representatives who voted ‘No’ on House Roll Call 68, Alabama’s Robert Aderholt and Wisconsin’s Tom Tiffany did not vote.

[One other congressman, California’s Tom McClintock, also abstained on the amendment, but he is a co-sponsor of H.R.1275, the free-standing Right to Work Bill introduced by Mr. Wilson.]

“And two other GOP House members — New York’s John Katko and Alaska’s Don Young – actually voted for the mislabeled ‘PRO’ Act, which would destroy Right to Work laws by legalizing forced union fees nationwide — just minutes after they voted for Joe Wilson’s Right to Work Amendment. 

“It’s not clear what these two congressmen were trying to accomplish, but their freedom-loving constituents certainly shouldn’t regard them as Right to Work supporters.”

Appeasers Still Have Plenty of Time to Change Course Before 2022 Elections

GOP Right to Work
By voting in favor of firing workers for not paying dues or fees to a union they don’t want, and never asked for, these Republican House members covered AFL-CIO czar Richard Trumka’s back. Come election time, they shouldn’t expect him to return the favor. (Credit: Kaveh Sardari, AFL – CIO)

The good news for potentially vulnerable House members who voted against Right to Work in March is that they still have plenty of time to change course before they have to face the voters again in order to retain their seats.

The Committee’s next task is to force GOP and Democrat House members alike in key targeted districts who cast their ballots in favor of forced unionism this year to reconsider before the 2022 congressional elections get underway.

“It is just plain wrong to force employees to pay union dues, or be fired,” said Mr. Mix.

“Although a majority of representatives voted in favor of union coercion, House Roll Call 68 put Committee members one giant step closer to the day when Right to Work is the law of the land.

“Pro-Right to Work Americans must ask the politicians who voted against this amendment: ‘Whom do you represent? The roughly 80% of your constituents who support Right to Work, or the elite few who benefit from the forced-unionism status quo?”’    

This article was originally published in our monthly newsletter. You can go here to access previous newsletter posts.

NRTW Home » News » More Than 87% of House GOP Backs Right to Work