Committee Members Actions Trip Up Government Union Sneak Play

(Source: August 2010 NRTWC Newsletter)

Public-Safety Forced Unionism Still High on Capitol Hill Agenda

The American people do not support Big Labor’s legislative scheme to establish a new federal mandate imposing union “exclusive representation” (monopoly bargaining) over state and local police, firefighters, and other public-safety employees nationwide.

And powerful union-label politicians like U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) know this public-safety scheme (H.R.413/S.3194) is unpopular. That’s why they have repeatedly tried to sneak it through Congress.

Most recently, in June, Ms. Pelosi and her top lieutenants cut a deal with AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and other union bigwigs to attach H.R.413, the House version of the Police/Fire Monopoly-Bargaining Bill, to a massive spending bill that provides funding for U.S. troops.

International Association of Firefighters (IAFF) union boss Harold Schaitberger openly admitted to helping concoct the scheme to tack H.R.413 on to H.R.4899, the Fiscal Year (FY) 2010 Supplemental Appropriations Act, in a June 30 message to officers of his union subsidiaries. Early last month, the National Right to Work Committee obtained a copy of Mr. Schaitberger’s communication.

Firefighters Union Chief ‘Argued Strongly’ For War Supplemental Strategy

Mr. Schaitberger reported that he had “argued strongly” for attaching H.R.413 “to the War Supplemental funding proposal for our troops in Afghanistan.”

The backroom deal between House leaders and the union hierarchy allowed the public-safety forced-unionism measure to come to the floor so quickly that Right to Work members and their allies had virtually no time to mobilize for the vote.

On July 1, the House rubber-stamped H.R.413 as a provision of H.R.4899. With very few exceptions, the national media overlooked the fact that a pro-forced unionism federal takeover of state and local labor-management relations had been approved as part of an unrelated spending bill.

However, despite the media’s cluelessness, millions of Right to Work members and supporters around the country were well aware of what was going on because the Committee was informing and mobilizing them through e-mails, phone calls, and “snail” mail.

For several weeks in July, freedom-loving Americans mobilized by the Committee campaign contacted their senators again and again, urging them to oppose H.R.4899 on all votes unless and until the public-safety union monopoly-bargaining amendment was removed.

Several organizations representing the interests of local governments and public-safety departments, such as the National Sheriffs’ Association, joined with the Committee in lobbying against the forced-unionism sneak play.

The message clearly got through to a number of senators who normally vote with Big Labor, but are getting antsier and antsier about their next election, regardless of whether they have to face the voters this year, or not until 2012 or 2014.

On the evening of July 22, the Senate voted down the House-passed version of H.R.4899, and then approved a war spending bill without the monopoly-bargaining provision. Finally, on July 27, a chastened House acquiesced to the Senate’s action, and sent a stripped-down war supplemental to President Obama’s desk.

Vast Majority of Americans Reject Monopoly Bargaining

H.R.413 and its Senate companion, S.3194, would force countless police officers, firefighters and EMT’s to accept as their monopoly-bargaining agent a union they never voted for, and want nothing to do with.

Moreover, H.R.413 and S.3194 would, in practice, force tens of thousands of first responders to pay union dues or fees as a condition of keeping their jobs — despite Big Labor claims to the contrary.

“Americans overwhelmingly oppose monopoly bargaining and forced union dues, period,” noted Committee President Mark Mix.

“The public certainly has no interest in backing legislation designed to help Big Labor grab monopoly-bargaining privileges over hundreds of thousands of additional employees.”

Decades of polling confirm this point. Mr. Mix cited one recent scientific nationwide survey.

This poll found that 81% of Americans who regularly vote in statewide elections believe that employees in unionized businesses should retain the right to bargain for themselves. Just 17% of regular voters believe employees should not have that right, while 2% are unsure.

“Forcing union nonmembers to accept public-safety union officials as their monopoly-bargaining agent is what H.R.413 and S.3194 are all about,” explained Mr. Mix.

“Any state law or local ordinance authorizing public-safety union bosses to bargain on behalf of their members only would get tossed in the scrapheap if either measure became law.

“And, as Service Employees International Union second-in-command Anna Burger recently boasted, H.R.413/S.3194 would ‘create a national collective,’ i.e. monopoly, ‘bargaining standard for all public workers.’

“H.R.413/S.3194 simply can’t withstand public scrutiny. And Big Labor congressional leaders know it.”

Right to Work Committee And Its Members Will Keep Turning up the Heat

“Enactment of H.R.413 or S.3194 would be disastrous, not just for independent-minded public-safety officers and Right to Work advocates, but also for taxpayers and citizens who depend on their local police and fire departments,” Mr. Mix continued.

“That’s why the National Right to Work Committee and its members can’t afford to rest on our laurels for a minute. We will keep turning up the heat in preparation for the next Capitol Hill showdown over this legislation.

“Despite their recent setback, Harold Schaitberger, Richard Trumka, and the rest of the union hierarchy are far from ready to give up on their bid to federalize public-safety union monopoly bargaining.

“A number of the senators who helped defeat the public-safety scheme last month, when they were facing intense pressure from pro-Right to Work constituents, are current or previous cosponsors of this power grab.

“Right to Work supporters shouldn’t, and won’t, make the mistake of assuming such senators will be with us if, as is likely, Congress takes up H.R.413/S.3194 again this fall.

“Freedom-loving Americans must even be prepared for a possible showdown on this legislation during a ‘lame duck’ congressional session in November or December, after the elections, but before the new House and Senate are seated.

“Enactment of H.R.413/S.3194 would deal a harsh blow to the Right to Work cause.

“I know Committee members and supporters across the country understand that fact, and will do all they can to stop this legislation.”