Compulsory-Dues Repeal Legislation Introduced on Capitol
On May 8, U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.), joined by 52
original cosponsors, introduced legislation that would restore an important
personal freedom for millions of American employees.
Congressman Wilson’s H.R.2571, also known as the National
Right to Work Act, would add not a single word to federal labor law.
Instead, it would simply repeal the current provisions that
authorize compulsory union dues and fee payments as a condition of employment.
And just a few weeks prior to the Wilson legislation’s
introduction, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) filed S.525, a measure that is
essentially identical to H.R.2571, in Congress’s upper chamber.
Twenty-Seven of the 50 States Already Protect Employees’
Freedom to Work
Fortunately, ever since the National Labor Relations Act
(NLRA) was amended by a reform-minded Congress in 1947, it has explicitly
granted states permission to enact Right to Work laws.
Twenty-seven states have already taken advantage of that
prerogative, and a majority of Americans in 2019 reside in a state where the
freedom to get and keep a job without being forced to bankroll an unwanted
union is legally protected.
Nearly a fifth of all state Right to Work laws — Indiana’s,
Michigan’s, Wisconsin’s, West Virginia’s and Kentucky’s — were adopted since
the beginning of 2012.
Moreover, as commentator David French observed in a March
article for National Review, in states where the “vibrant right-to-work
movement” has secured passage and implementation of bans on forced union dues
and fees, these laws have “sparked faster economic growth and greater increases
in real purchasing power . . . .”
“A wide array of data from the federal government and
nonpartisan private-sector researchers confirm Mr. French’s assessment of the
economic benefits of prohibiting forced union membership and dues payments,”
said National Right to Work Committee President Mark Mix.
“To take just one example, U.S. Census Bureau statistics
show that last year 50.4% of all Americans lived in a Right to Work state, but
69.3% of all permits for construction of new, privately-owned, single-unit
houses were issued in a Right to Work state.”
But even though the harm inflicted by forced-unionism
federal labor laws has been mitigated by the NLRA’s pro-Right to Work “states’
rights” exception, enshrined in Section 14(b) of the statute, the damage done
continues to be vast.
As a Consequence of Federal Labor Law, States Have No Power
to Free Many Workers
In fact, the forced-dues amendment to the Railway Labor Act
(RLA) adopted by a Big Labor Congress in 1951 blocks, to this day, state Right
to Work laws from protecting employees in the railroad and airline industries.
As a consequence of the RLA, tens of thousands of railroad
and airline industry employees who hold jobs based in Right to Work states can
still be fired for refusal to pay union dues or fees, despite what the labor
laws of their own states say.
Moreover, thousands of additional defense, health-care and
other industry employees who work at military bases, centers for disease
control, national parks, and other jurisdictions in Right to Work states that
are regarded as “exclusive federal enclaves” are currently forced by federal
law to bankroll a union.
One important benefit of H.R.2571 and S.525 is that they
would close both the RLA loophole and the “exclusive federal enclave loophole”
that have long prevented state Right to Work laws from protecting substantial
numbers of employees.
Forced Union Dues Put Tax-And-Spend Politicians in Office,
Keep Them There
Another aspect of federally imposed forced unionism that
negatively affects the entire country, and not just the states without Right to
Work laws, is that it has empowered Big Labor to build and operate an enormous,
nationwide political machine with money conscripted from workers.
“Forced dues-fueled spending by union bosses pays for phone
banks, get-out-the-vote drives, propaganda mailings, and other so-called
‘in-kind’ support for Big Labor’s favored federal as well as state and local
political candidates across the country,” said Mr. Mix.
“Tax-and-Spend, regulation-happy politicians who are put in
office, and kept in office, by the Big Labor machine, which is conservatively
estimated to spend a total of roughly $2 billion on electioneering and lobbying
in every two-year federal campaign cycle, make economic policy for the whole
“The onerous taxes and counterproductive red tape imposed on
companies of all sizes by these union-label politicians result in slower revenue
growth for business, and that generally means slower growth in cash pay and
benefits for employees.
“Of course, Big Labor does the most damage in states where
union bosses rake in the most forced-dues money.
“But if Congress repealed all the forced-dues provisions in
the NLRA and the RLA, this massive impediment to economic growth nationwide
would quickly be lifted.”
In the weeks and months ahead, Committee members and
legislative staff will press hard for hearings and floor votes on H.R.2571 and
Recorded Congressional Votes Would Show Freedom Lovers Where Their Politicians Stand
“After roll-call Right to Work floor votes in the House and
Senate, concerned citizens across the U.S. will know for sure which of their
federal elected officials support employee freedom of choice, and which are Big
Labor stooges,” Mr. Mix explained.
“That alone will make a major difference.
“Poll after poll shows nearly 80% of Americans who regularly
vote in federal elections support the Right to Work principle.
“Politicians who ignore what their constituents think and
vote to perpetuate forced union dues may well suffer ballot-box repercussions
down the road.
“Recorded floor votes on H.R.2571 and S.525 will thus, whether they are originally successful or not, pave the way for the liberation of every working man and woman in America from paying compulsory tribute to Big Labor.”