Right to Work Allies Won’t Be Gagged For Now

The PRO Act would effectively destroy 27 state Right to Work laws and authorize forced union dues in every state. And the Senate filibuster is the primary roadblock stopping President Joe Biden from signing it. (Credit: The White House/Wikimedia Commons)

Committee Helps Block Big Labor Scheme to Rewrite Senate Rules

Well before Election Day 2020, top-ranking union bosses in Washington, D.C., were already laying down the law.

If Joe Biden became the 46th U.S. President in January 2021, with Big Labor-allied politicians holding the reins of both chambers of Congress, union bigwigs would expect their agenda to be enacted, regardless of how intensely the American people were opposed.

Topping this agenda was the cynically mislabeled “Protecting the Right to Organize” Act, or PRO Act.

The so-called “PRO” Act is a smorgasbord of special privileges for union bosses. 

Its single most outrageous provision would make compulsory union fees as an employment condition permissible in all 50 states.

In 2020, the forced union dues-funded Big Labor political machine, which pumps billions of dollars into electioneering and lobbying every campaign cycle, helped put Mr. Biden in the Oval Office.

Barring Extended Senate Debates Is Key to Passing Forced-Unionism Schemes

The November outcome simultaneously left Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) still in charge of the U.S. House, albeit by a significantly narrowed margin.

A few weeks later, the AFL-CIO hierarchy deployed its political army of paid “volunteers” to Georgia, where two pro-Right to Work GOP senators were running to keep their seats in January 2021 “runoff” races necessitated by state law if no candidate receives at least 50% of the total vote.

Big Labor’s huge, coercion-derived investment in the two pro-union monopoly Democrat challengers in the Georgia races paid off. Both narrowly won, giving top union bosses operational control over the Senate as well as the House and the White House.

But PRO Act partisans needed more than this Beltway trifecta to see their power grab become law.

They also needed to do away with the ability of Right to Work supporters, under Senate rules, to keep an extended debate going with the help of only a minority of senators — specifically, 41 out of 100, since the mid-1970’s. 

National Right to Work Committee President Mark Mix explained:

“Extended debates, otherwise known as filibusters, enable Right to Work advocates and other grassroots citizen groups to block special-interest legislation until an alerted public can defeat it directly.

“That’s why top union bosses have long wanted to bar extended Senate debates.”

On January 19, acting at Big Labor’s behest, Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), attempted to drive a knife through the heart of the legislative filibuster.

Mr. Schumer’s weapon was a precedent established by the late Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) nearly a decade ago.

On paper, Rule XXII, which has been adopted by the Senate in every Congress for over a century, requires a two-thirds majority vote to end debate on a proposal to change the chamber’s procedures so that the proposal itself can be voted on.

But under the so-called “nuclear option” precedent set by Mr. Reid, a bare majority of senators can simply declare their intent to ignore the Rule XXII provision enabling a minority of senators to delay a final vote on legislation by conducting an extended debate.

The vehicle for Mr. Schumer’s attempt to eviscerate the legislative filibuster was H.R.5746, a package of speech-chilling proposals, mislabeled as “election reform,” that are being pushed forward by Big Labor and its favored politicians.

‘Union Bosses Have Made Their Ultimate Objective Very Clear’

“Key provisions of H.R.5746 would require nonprofit citizen groups like the National Right to Work Committee to hand over the personal information of their members to the federal government,” said Mr. Mix.

“As the U.S. Supreme Court has recognized, the effect of such compelled disclosures is to ‘abridge the rights of . . . rank-and-file members to engage in lawful association in support of their common beliefs.’

“And had the filibuster been killed in January, Charles Schumer would have had sufficient votes for H.R.5746 to be rubber-stamped and sent to Joe Biden’s desk for his signature. 

“That would have been just the beginning. 

“There are a host of other bills waiting that union-label politicians are eager to ram through Congress with razor-thin Senate majority support.

“Chief among them is the Right to Work-destroying PRO Act.

“Union bosses have made their ultimate objective very clear: abolish the filibuster so their pet politicians in Washington can force workers in all 50 states to pay union dues, or be fired.”

Shortly before the Senate vote on Mr. Schumer’s “nuclear option” scheme, which would have set a precedent eliminating the legislative filibuster as a practical matter, Right to Work legislative staff contacted the offices of all 100 senators to alert them to what was at stake.

The messages explained how a vote against preserving the filibuster would be a vote against the Right to Work.

Filibuster Saved, But By a Dangerously  Small Two-Vote Margin

For decades, the Senate filibuster has been a procedural lifesaver of the Right to Work — especially of Taft-Hartley Section 14(b), which authorizes states to protect employees’ Right to Work. But today the filibuster is in grave jeopardy. (Credit: Herc Ficklen/Dallas News)

“Both because the Committee has 2.8 million members across the country, and because roughly 80% of Americans who regularly vote support the Right to Work principle, senators representing key ‘swing’ states knew they would be taking a substantial political risk by siding with Charles Schumer,” said Mr. Mix.

In the end, Mr. Schumer and 47 other senators voted to “carve out” the provision of Rule XXII that requires a two-thirds vote to change the chamber’s rules regarding Senate filibusters and pave the way for the PRO Act and a host of other Big Labor power grabs.

With Vice President Kamala Harris on the scene to break a tie, that means top union lobbyists fell just two votes short of completely taking over Washington, D.C.

“Right to Work supporters and our allies scored an important incremental victory in January. But it was much too close for comfort. The filibuster, and the 27 state Right to Work laws now on the books, remain in deep jeopardy,” said Mr. Mix.

Besides putting the heat on wavering senators not to help Big Labor obliterate Right to Work protections for millions of American employees, the Committee has over the past year carried on an aggressive media effort to raise public awareness of the PRO Act’s destructive impact.

By making dozens and dozens of guest appearances on national and local radio talk shows, and contributing op-eds to newspapers across the country, Mr. Mix and other Right to Work officers have reached out to millions of citizens, furnishing them with information they might otherwise have missed. 

Committee Members’ Generosity Makes Media Outreach Possible

Mr. Mix thanked Right to Work members for the generous contributions that have helped make this media outreach possible. 

“It is largely because of Committee loyalists,” he said, “that Big Labor’s blitz to pass the PRO Act may ultimately be defeated.”

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