Pay Big Labor to Undercut Your ‘Economic Interests,’
or Be Fired!
Kamala Harris, the junior U.S. senator from California and
one of roughly 20 hopefuls for the Democrat Party’s 2020 presidential
nomination, knows full well that many employees who are subject to union
monopoly bargaining would be better off if they weren’t.
In fact, in the fall of 2015, Ms. Harris and several other
statewide California officeholders effectively admitted that laws authorizing
union bosses to act as the sole spokesperson for members and non-members alike
in contract negotiations with the employer can and often do hurt talented
At that time, Ms. Harris was California’s attorney general.
She, state Solicitor General Ed DuMont, and several of their
lieutenants, along with officers of the National Education Association (NEA)
union and its Golden State subsidiary, the California Teachers Association
(CTA), were the respondents in Friedrichs v. CTA, a case before the U.S.
Big Labor Has ‘Substantial Latitude’ to Harm ‘Economic Interests’
of Many Workers
The Friedrichs plaintiffs were 10 independent-minded
public educators. They were challenging the constitutionality of California’s
laws foisting forced union dues and fees as a job condition on
In their September 2015 merits brief to the High Court, the plaintiffs drew upon passages in the NEA Handbook to make the case that the respondent unions “advocate numerous policies that affirmatively harm teachers . . .” :
“NEA considers any ‘system of compensation based on an
evaluation of an education employee’s performance’ to be ‘inappropriate’ and
‘opposes providing additional compensation to attract and/or retain education
employees in hard-to -recruit positions.’”
Teachers who “care more about rewarding merit than
protecting mediocre teachers” should “oppose these policies,” concluded the Friedrichs
plaintiffs, who were represented by a team of attorneys led by Michael Carvin
of the Cleveland-based law firm Jones Day.
The plaintiffs added that “teachers who specialize in
difficult subjects (like chemistry or physics), but are trapped in
union-obtained pay systems that stop them from out-earning gym teachers,”
should also oppose those polices.
In the reply briefs they filed in November 2015, the
pro-forced unionism respondents did not contest the fact that many teachers get
paid less due to union monopoly bargaining.
And Ms. Harris and Mr. DuMont actually confirmed in their
brief that, under statutes and case law authorizing monopolistic unionism,
Organized Labor officials “do have substantial latitude to advance bargaining
positions that . . . run counter to the economic interests of some employees.”
Union-Label Politicians ‘Do Not Have the Best Interests Of
Workers at Heart’
Even as they acknowledged that Big Labor undercuts the
economic interests of many teachers and other employees, the union-label
California politicians continued to argue it is sound public policy to
authorize the termination of such employees if they refuse to bankroll a union
they don’t want!
On the presidential campaign trail in Las Vegas this April
27, Ms. Harris aggressively reaffirmed her support for forced union dues and
fees and declared her intention to wipe out Right to Work protections for
“Banning Right to Work laws” would be one of the first
initiatives she would undertake in the White House, Ms. Harris vowed to an
audience of union professionals and their militant followers.
National Right to Work Committee President Mark Mix
“Kamala Harris’ ugly message to employees across America is
‘Pay Big Labor to undercut your “economic interests,” or be fired from your
“Clearly, pro-forced unionism politicians like Ms. Harris do
not have the best interests of workers at heart.”
Many 2020 Democrat Presidential Hopefuls Are Targeting
Right to Work
Mr. Mix, appearing on the nationally televised Fox &
Friends show, emphasized that the California senator is far from the only
candidate for the 2020 Democrat presidential nomination who has gone on the
record in support of foisting compulsory unionism on employees nationwide.
In fact, one of the contenders to be the Democrat standard-bearer,
Vermont U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, was the lead sponsor last year of S.2810, the
cynically mislabeled “Workplace Democracy Act,” legislation that would have
wiped out all 27 current state Right to Work laws.
As if that weren’t enough, the Sanders scheme, which he is
expected to reintroduce soon in the current Congress, would also have rewritten
federal law concerning “card checks” to help union bosses shove hundreds of
thousands of small businesses and millions of additional workers under Big
Under yet another provision in S.2810, if union heads and
employers negotiating a first contract failed to make a deal within roughly
four months, a federal “arbitration panel” would have unilaterally implemented
a contract binding for two years on union members and non-members alike.
“S.2810 would have enabled union bosses with
monopoly-bargaining power to circumvent altogether the wishes of unionized
workers by prevailing upon federal bureaucrats to give them forced-dues
privileges,” said Mr. Mix.
“And workers wouldn’t have been able to do anything about it
for a minimum of two years.”
Along with Mr. Sanders and Ms. Harris, other 2020
presidential candidates who signed on to S.2810 include Sens. Elizabeth Warren
(D-Mass.) and Kirstin Gillibrand (D-N.Y.).
Among the other Democrat White House hopefuls who are now
most loudly proclaiming their opposition to Right to Work are former Obama
Cabinet member Julian Castro and former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper.
Right to Work Repeal Would Leave Job-Creating Firms With
Nowhere to Flee
If Big Labor politicians got their way and all state Right
to Work laws were wiped off the books, job-creating businesses that have been
harmed by Big Labor class warfare would no longer be able to mitigate the damage
by growing and investing in jurisdictions without compulsory unionism.
“From 2013 to 2018, according to U.S. Department of Labor
data, payroll manufacturing employment grew by 425,000, or 7.6%, in states that
had Right to Work laws on the books for the entire five years,” noted Mr. Mix.
“In both percentage and absolute terms, manufacturing
employment growth was roughly two-and-a-half times as great as it was in
“Without Right to Work states, there would certainly be far
fewer jobs created in the U.S. as a whole.
“And job seekers who couldn’t find good jobs in slow-growth
forced-unionism states would no longer have anywhere to flee.”
Right to Work Committee Prepared to Fight Back
The good news, said Mr. Mix, is that the American people
continue, overwhelmingly, to oppose forced unionism.
He explained: “Kamala Harris and many other presidential
candidates are obviously willing to promise to corral millions of Americans
into unions against their will in exchange for the $2 billion union political
“But the support of that machine, as formidable as it is,
will not be enough for a pro-forced-dues White House hopeful to prevail a year
from November, if the overwhelming majority of Americans who support Right to
Work recognize that this important freedom is increasingly at risk.
“And thanks to the ongoing generous support of our 2.8
million members across the country, I am confident the National Right to Work
Committee will be fully prepared to sound the alarm about the rising threat of
compulsory unionism through our federal candidate survey program in 2020.”