State Elections Augur Well For Right to Work

Additional Bans on Forced Dues Expected to Be Considered in 2021

Josh Sword
“At the end of Election Day there are going to be more [Big] Labor-endorsed candidates elected to our state Senate . . . ,” predicted West Virginia AFL-CIO boss Josh Sword just before polls opened. He was dead wrong. (Credit: Austin Weiford, Exponent Telegram (Clarksburg, W.Va.))

In the 2020 elections, union bosses’ threats about how their political machine would punish elected officials in state after state for standing up to Big Labor and passing Right to Work laws turned out once again to be extraordinarily hollow.

Shortly before Election Day, union strategists publicly anticipated at least making headway towards reinstating forced union dues in the five states — Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, West Virginia and Kentucky — that have adopted and implemented Right to Work laws in the last nine years.   

Unfortunately for Big Labor, in all of these states, voters foiled their schemes. In fact, in the two states that most recently passed their Right to Work laws — West Virginia and Kentucky — union-label candidates collectively got clobbered.

A news story filed on November 2 quoted West Virginia AFL-CIO President Josh Sword gleefully anticipating the political punishment a $5 million Big Labor front group (lavishly funded by his own union conglomerate) would deal out to the elected officials who support the Mountain State Right to Work law adopted in 2016.

He boldly predicted: “At the end of Election Day there are going to be more [Big] Labor-endorsed candidates elected to our state Senate . . . .” 

Party That Supplied All the Votes For Right to Work Law Has Been Richly Rewarded

What actually happened is that all of the pro-forced unionism West Virginia Senate challengers backed by the union boss-controlled “Mountain State Values” outfit were defeated. The state Senate’s GOP caucus, which supplied all 17 of the chamber’s votes to pass Right to Work in 2016, expanded from 20 to 23. 

In the state House of Delegates, the Democrat caucus, which unanimously voted against Right to Work in 2016, shriveled to just 24 out of 100 seats. 

At the time West Virginia’s ban on forced union dues and fees was approved, the anti-Right to Work Democrat caucus held 36 seats in the chamber.

In neighboring Kentucky, which gave the green light for Right to Work legislation in early 2017, the pattern was strikingly similar.

Repeal of the Bluegrass State Right to Work law and restoration of forced-dues privileges for union bosses was a key provision of the labor-policy platform unveiled by Democrat members of the state House of Representatives on Labor Day, just as the 2020 campaigns were heating up.

This political pandering to Big Labor completely backfired.

On Election Day, the number of seats in this 100-member body held by Democrats dwindled from 38 to 25, handing the heavily pro-Right to Work state GOP a House supermajority. 

In 2021, Republicans will also have a supermajority in the Kentucky Senate, with 30 out of 38 seats.

Both Kentucky chambers’ Democrat caucuses are now substantially smaller than they were at the time of Right to Work passage.

Union Bosses’ Failure to Make Good on 2020 Threats Should Be Remembered in 2021 

National Right to Work Committee Vice President John Kalb commented:

“In the coming year, several of the 23 states that have yet to secure Right to Work protections for employees are expected to take up legislation banning termination for refusal to join or bankroll an unwanted union.

“Among the states where Right to Work measures may well come up for roll-call floor votes in early 2021 are Delaware, New Hampshire, Ohio and Montana.

“In a number of states, the National Right to Work Committee is already providing, thanks to the generosity of our own members and supporters, advice and assistance to regional, state and local organizations pushing for passage of additional laws prohibiting forced union dues and fees as a job condition. 

“Whenever Right to Work legislation comes up, union bigwigs from national AFL-CIO boss Richard Trumka on down invariably predict the union machine will end the careers of elected officials who vote against forced unionism.

“2020 is just the latest, but perhaps the most definitive yet, illustration of the emptiness of such threats.

“For state politicians across America, in Biden-won states as well as Trump-won states, Right to Work was a winning issue in November. And it’s important that union bosses’ failure to make good on their 2020 threats is remembered in 2021.”