Private Employees Remain Chained to Big Labor

In America today, millions of private employees are still being fleeced by bosses of unions they would never voluntarily join, even after the U.S. Supreme Court declared similar schemes in the public sector to be unconstitutional.
In America today, millions of private employees are still being fleeced by bosses of unions they would never voluntarily join, even after the U.S. Supreme Court declared similar schemes in the public sector to be unconstitutional.

High Court’s Janus Decision Unchained Government Employees

When a small but determined coalition of freedom-loving employees and likeminded business owners formed the National Right to Work Committee in 1955, the ills of union monopoly bargaining and forced union dues were rampant in private workplaces, but nowhere to be found in the government sector.

Just a few years later, a New York City executive order and a Wisconsin state law authorizing so-called “exclusive” union representation in government workplaces marked the beginning of a decades-long journey towards pervasive, legally-authorized Big Labor coercion of public servants.

Early this summer, the U.S. Supreme Court’s Janus case, argued and won by National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation staff attorney Bill Messenger, finally turned back the tide of forced union dues and fees in state and local public employment.

But the Janus ruling has no direct effect at all on the private-sector compulsory unionism that the Committee was  originally formed to combat.

‘The Most Powerful Legislative, Political, and Economic Lobby The World Has Ever Known’

Mark Mix, the president of the Right to Work Legal Foundation as well as the National Right to Work Committee, explained:

“Thanks to Janus, compulsory employee financial support for government-sector unionism is no longer legal anywhere in America.

“Of course, ensuring that government union bosses and Big Labor-backed public officials abide by this decision and stop threatening civil servants who don’t want to join or bankroll their organizations with termination will require a lot of hard work and determination.

“But in the nearly two dozen states that still lack Right to Work protections in the private sector, Big Labor retains the power, at this time, to force employees with impunity to bankroll union-boss speech with which the employees disagree.

“It was due to forced union dues and ‘check-off’ schemes targeting private-sector workers only that, six decades ago, Big Labor was already, as then-Right to Work President William Harrison put it in 1959, ‘the most powerful legislative, political and economic lobby the world has ever known . . . .’”

“Today, in the wake of Janus, Big Labor retains monopoly-bargaining privileges over roughly 40% of state and local government employees nationwide — privileges it did not have back in 1959 — PLUS forced-dues power over millions of private-sector employees.

“Clearly, Americans who believe no worker should be forced to be represented by a union or bankroll a union as a condition of employment have work left to do before we can declare victory.”

Among the U.S. House members who recently became cosponsors of the Right to Work Act after hearing from freedom-loving constituents mobilized by the Committee are Martha McSally (Ariz.), Mo Brooks (Ala., center), and Kevin Cramer (N.D.).
Among the U.S. House members who recently became cosponsors of the Right to Work Act after hearing from freedom-loving constituents mobilized by the Committee are Martha McSally (Ariz.), Mo Brooks (Ala., center), and Kevin Cramer (N.D.). sources: AP, Wikipedia, and AP/Andrew Harnik

 

“Fortunately,” Mr. Mix continued, “legislation that is already pending in Congress would guarantee that private-sector employees in all 50 states have the same core protections against compulsory financial support for labor organizations that government employees now enjoy thanks to Janus.”

For more than eight decades, federal labor policy covering private-sector workplaces has explicitly authorized the termination of employees for refusal to join or pay dues to a union, even if they don’t want it and never asked for it.

Unless private-sector unionized employees are protected by a state Right to Work law, they may be forced on pain of firing to pay tribute to the union wielding monopoly-bargaining privileges in their workplace.

But if the National Right to Work Act, respectively introduced in the U.S. House and Senate as H.R.785 and S.545, becomes law, this unwarranted and government-promoted restriction on the private employee’s freedom of association will become a thing of the past.

The Worker Is Best Judge of Whether Monopoly Bargaining Is Personally ‘Beneficial’

And this legislation would put a stop to forced union dues and fees without adding a word to federal law.

Instead, H.R.785 and S.545 would simply repeal the current provisions in federal labor law that authorize and encourage the termination of employees for refusal to pay money to an unwanted union.

Mr. Mix noted that compulsory union dues are especially outrageous when the worker from whom they are extracted has good reason to believe he or she would be better off, economically speaking, union-free.

“Forced union dues for harmful ‘representation’ are a common occurrence,” he explained.

Mr. Mix cited the admission of Dr. Sheldon Leader, a law professor who is generally strongly supportive of Organized Labor, that under monopoly bargaining workers who don’t want a union are “often actually made worse off than they were before.”

The eminent late Pennsylvania law professor Clyde Summers strongly concurred in his 1995 review of Dr. Leader’s book, rejecting union-boss attempts to use monopoly bargaining as an excuse for forced union dues.

Under “exclusive” union repre-sentation, noted Dr. Summers:

“Full-timers may bargain to limit the jobs of part-timers, seniority provisions may disadvantage younger workers, and wage increases of the low skilled may be at the expense of the highly skilled.”

Mr. Mix commented:

“The worker is the best judge of whether he or she personally benefits from union monopoly bargaining. Unlike current federal labor law, H.R.785 and S.545 recognize this simple and important fact.”

This summer, as part of its federal Survey 2018 program, the Committee has been mobilizing members and supporters in a number of targeted congressional districts and states to convince hitherto fence-sitting politicians to cosponsor national Right to Work legislation.

Forced-Dues Repeal Continues to Gain Support in Congress

Committee members and supporters are also asking congressional candidates who are not currently federal officeholders to pledge to support federal forced-dues repeal if elected.

“The Committee’s federal candidate survey program, which recurs every election year, has a long, well-established track record of convincing both incumbent politicians and challengers to take public stands in support of Right to Work,” said Mr. Mix.

Thanks largely to this year’s federal survey, the number of H.R.785/S.545 sponsors had risen to 129 in the House and 30 in the Senate by the time this Newsletter edition went to press in early August.

Among the House members who recently became Right to Work cosponsors after hearing from their freedom-loving constituents are Senate candidates Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) and Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.).

“Forced unionism is unjust to employees and unpopular with the general public. The ideal would be for all federal candidates to vow to oppose it,” said Mr. Mix.

“At the very least, Right to Work members want one candidate in each closely contested race this November to be a credible opponent of Big Labor’s monopoly privileges.

“And we are now making solid progress towards achieving that goal.”

(source: September 2018 National Right To Work Newsletter)