Forced-Unionism Expansion Bill Would Kill Prospects For Millions
(Source: March 2010 NRTWC Newsletter)
According to a scientific poll conducted by the respected Research 2000 firm, 81% of Americans who regularly vote in statewide elections believe workers in unionized workplaces who don’t want a union should “have the right to bargain for themselves.”
Unfortunately, for three-quarters of a century, federal labor law has actively promoted what Americans, according to the Research 2000 poll and many others, overwhelmingly oppose.
The 1935 National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) and the 1934 Railway Labor Act (RLA) amendments hand union officials the power to force millions of workers, union members and nonmembers alike, to accept a union as their “exclusive” (monopoly) bargaining agent in their dealings with their employer.
Attack on Secret Ballot Only One Trick in Union Monopolists’ Playbook
And this year Congress is very likely to bring up for floor votes legislation that would help Big Labor corral millions of additional workers into unions.
Until recently, union strategists’ primary vehicle for expanding private-sector union monopoly bargaining in the current Congress was S.560/H.R.1409, the cynically mislabeled “Employee Free Choice Act.”
This legislation is designed to help union bosses sharply increase the share of all workers who are under union monopoly control by effectively ending secret-ballot elections in union organizing campaigns.
However, the National Right to Work Committee and its allies have mobilized massive public opposition to S.560/H.R.1409, greatly lowering its prospects for passage in its current form.
In response, Big Labor Capitol Hill politicians and union lobbyists are now concocting new legislation designed to accomplish the same objective through somewhat different means.
Monopoly Unionism Negatively Correlated With Private-Sector Growth
“The Committee and its 2.5 million members have led the opposition to S.560/H.R.1409, because this scheme would greatly exacerbate the harm caused by the forced-unionism provisions in the NLRA and RLA,” commented Committee President Mark Mix.
“The ‘Plan B’ forced-unionism expansion legislation now being crafted by Big Labor Sen. Tom Harkin [D-Iowa] and a handful of his cohorts could be even more harmful.
“And experience indicates enactment of either S.560/H.R.1409 or a ‘Plan B’ alternative would drastically reduce employment opportunities in addition to taking away the freedom of now-independent workers.
“For example, as a group, the 10 states that had the highest shares of their private-sector employees under union monopoly bargaining in 2003 experienced barely more than half as much real economic output growth over the next five years as did the 10 states with the lowest private-sector unionization.
“An even more compelling illustration of how Big Labor monopoly snuffs out economic dynamism is the mass movement of young adults out of the states where union bosses wield the most power.”
Mr. Mix noted that U.S. Census Bureau data show that, in states that had private-sector unionization of less than 6.5% in 1998, the total number of 25-34 year olds in 2008 was 12.304 million, an increase of 17.8% over these states’ aggregate population in that age bracket a decade earlier.
Were It Not For ‘Safety-Valve’ States, National Unemployment Would Be Even Worse
Over the same 10-year period, the 25-34 year-old population increased by just 3.7% in states with 1998 private-sector unionization of 6.5% to 11.0%, and decreased by 1.1% in states with 1998 private-sector unionization of more than 11.0%.
By 2008, the 25-34 year-old population of the states where private-sector union bosses wield the least monopoly-bargaining power was higher by 1.28 million than it would have been had it increased at the national average rate over the previous decade.
And other Census data show these states’ outsized growth in their young-adult population was overwhelmingly the result of migration from other states, not higher 1974-1983 birth rates or immigration from abroad.
“Up to now, low-union-density states like Texas, Georgia, and North Carolina have furnished a ‘safety valve’ for Big Labor strongholds like New York, New Jersey, Michigan and California,” commented Mr. Mix.
“Young adults who can’t find decent job opportunities in heavily unionized states simply pick up and leave for states like Texas, Georgia, and North Carolina, where they routinely fare much better.
“As bad as unemployment is today in union-label New York, New Jersey, Michigan and California, it would be far worse were it not for the ‘safety-valve’ states.
“Incredibly, the avowed goal of S.560 lead sponsor Tom Harkin and other Big Labor politicians in Congress is to eliminate these pockets of long-term job growth! Of course, the vast majority of them are Right to Work states.”
Union Bigwigs Calculate ‘Plan B’ Can Muster Necessary 60 Senate Votes
Mr. Mix continued: “Rewriting federal labor to make Texas’s private-sector unionization rate as high as California’s is today would certainly be a radical move.
“But Tom Harkin and union bigwigs like AFL-CIO chief Richard Trumka believe that, by dropping the ‘card-check’ provision in S.560 and modifying others, they can muster the 60 votes they need to bring up this power grab for a final Senate roll call so that it can be passed and sent to the White House.
“There are a number of fence-sitting senators like Blanche Lincoln [D-Ark.] and Ben Nelson [D-Neb.] who, even though they voted for ‘card-check’ forced unionism in the past, are having second thoughts on backing S.560 in its current form.
“However, Ms. Lincoln, Mr. Nelson, and several other key senators in both parties have left the door open for supporting ‘Plan B’ when it emerges in its final form and arrives on the Senate floor.
“Even recently elected GOP Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts, who has commendably expressed his opposition to S.560’s ‘card-check’ provision, has yet to say how he would vote on a modified version of this legislation that promoted union monopoly bargaining by tampering with workplace election rules.”
Right to Work Supporters Must Not Let Their Guard Down
“That’s why I think Right to Work supporters would be wrong to brush off Richard Trumka’s recent prediction that the so-called ‘Employee Free Choice Act’ would pass, in one form or another, before this summer,” Mr. Mix observed.
“However, as long as Right to Work members and supporters keep turning up the heat on Congress with their postcards, phone calls, letters, signed petitions, and personal visits, I’m optimistic Mr. Trumka will be proven wrong.
“Now is no time for Right to Work supporters to let their guard down.”