Right to Work President and Supporters Urge Virginia Gov. Northam to Veto Monopoly Bargaining Bills
Springfield, VA (March 9, 2020) – National Right to Work Committee President Mark Mix today called on Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam to veto Senate Bill 939 and House Bill 582, both of which will grant union bosses monopoly bargaining powers over public sector workers in Virginia. The Virginia House of Delegates approved the conference committee report on SB 939 by a vote of 51-44, while the Senate approved the bill by a vote of 21-18. The conference committee report on HB 582 was approved 53-46 in the House and 21-18 in the Senate.
“The simple fact is, these pieces of legislation will both infringe on public employees’ rights and massively raise costs for taxpayers,” noted Mix.
“For decades, Virginia has protected the right of all its public servants to negotiate their own terms and conditions of employment and has forbidden union bosses from foisting their one-size-fits-all monopoly representation on government employees.
“The current ban on government union monopoly bargaining passed in
1993 with wide bipartisan support in the Virginia General Assembly and was
signed into law by Democratic Governor Doug Wilder,” continued Mix.
“The members of Virginia’s new Democratic majority are waging war on
the freedom Virginia public servants have enjoyed for decades with this wrongheaded
bill, and have made no attempt to conceal that they are simply doing the
bidding of union officials looking to dramatically expand their power over
government employees and taxpayers,” Mix observed.
“We urge Gov. Northam to defend Virginia’s government workers and uphold
one of the signature achievements of his predecessor Doug Wilder by vetoing
this destructive bill,” said Mix.
Right to Work supporters have deluged Gov. Northam’s office with letters
pressing him to reject the measure.
Monopoly Bargaining Will Also Hurt Taxpayers
Mix also noted that these pieces of legislation, if enacted, would massively increase taxes for Virginia taxpayers.
“What you see in states with union monopoly bargaining is union bosses and their handpicked politicians saying, ‘you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours, and to heck with taxpayers!’” said Mix.
Mix pointed to a 2016 study by the Heritage Foundation which showed that a state passing government sector bargaining increases the average annual tax burden by $3,000 for a family of four.
And an analysis by the National Institute for Labor Relations Research found that the state and local tax burden in the 17 states with the most heavily unionized public sectors was 26% higher than in the 17 states where government union bosses have the fewest workers corralled into monopoly union bargaining.
Additionally, the Maryland Department of Fiscal Analysis found that government sector bargaining costs between $1.3 and $1.4 million per year in process costs alone for just twelve “bargaining units” of state employees.
“Considering that this legislation could ultimately create hundreds of bargaining units around the state, we’re talking about a truly massive cost to taxpayers every year,” noted Mix.
Mix also pointed out that Virginia’s current ban on government sector bargaining gives it an enormous advantage over neighboring Maryland.
“Without wasteful work rules and the “us versus them” confrontational mentality, Virginia government is more able to focus on real priorities and respond to changing circumstances than Maryland,” Mix continued.
“That, in addition to Virginia’s Right to Work Law, are major reasons Virginia landed CNBC’s #1 State for Business ranking.”
Union Monopoly Bargaining Undermines Representative Government
Mix also pointed out that granting monopoly bargaining privileges to union officials will give them special access to the public purse that all other organizations lack.
“In a representative system of government, it is wrong to allow special interest groups like union officials to bind government in its most basic function — the spending of public money and directing of public services,” said Mix.
Mix pointed to no less a supporter of forced unionism than Franklin Roosevelt, who wrote, “All Government employees should realize that the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service.”
Mix concluded, “This action forces workers to accept union representation whether they want it or not, is bad for taxpayers and undermines our representative form of government.
“For all these reasons, Gov. Northam must reject these bills.”
The National Right to Work Committee, established in 1955, is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, single-purpose citizens’ organization dedicated to the principle that all Americans must have the right to join a union if they choose to, but none should ever be forced to affiliate with a union in order to get or keep a job. Its web address is www.nrtwc.org.