Right to Work Movement ‘Vibrant’ in 2019

Mark Mix (left, pictured here with H.R.2571 lead sponsor Joe Wilson, in the latter’s Capitol Hill office): “Poll after poll shows nearly 80% of Americans who regularly vote in federal elections support the Right to Work principle.” Credit: NRTWC

Compulsory-Dues Repeal Legislation Introduced on Capitol Hill

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 country.

“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 S.525.

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.”

(source: July 2019 National Right To Work Newsletter)