Will Right to Work Supporters Have a Choice on Fall 2016 Ballot?
(source: National Right To Work September 2015 Newsletter)
More than another year remains until American voters in all 50 states and in Washington, D.C., go to the polls to choose the next U.S. President in the fall 2016 general elections.
But three of the five declared candidates for the Democrat Party nomination have already promised Big Labor that, if elected, they will veto any national Right to Work measure Congress sends to their desk.
Former U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton (N.Y.) and Sen. Bernie Sanders, the two leading candidates in the Democrat contest, made their anti-Right to Work pledges in the course of responding to a questionnaire prepared by the bosses of the National Nurses United (NNU) union.
Also vying for the support of the NNU hierarchy by declaring his fealty to federally-imposed compulsory unionism was former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, a dark horse candidate for the Democrat presidential nomination.
Millions of Citizens Want ‘a Clear Alternative’ to Pro-Forced Dues Obama Administration
As reporter Emily Atkin, a contributor to the news blog ThinkProgress whom NNU operatives furnished with copies of the three Democrat presidential candidates’ completed surveys, has noted, Mr. Sanders, Mrs. Clinton, and Mr. O’Malley “only fully agreed” on one issue in the questionnaire.
In Ms. Atkin’s words, the Vermont senator, the former Maryland governor, and the former New York senator “all said they would veto a national right-to-work law should Congress pass one.”
National Right to Work Committee President Mark Mix expressed his disappointment that the three politicians would ignore the views of the 70-80% of Americans, including a clear majority of rank-and-file Democrat voters, who support the Right to Work principle.
Mr. Mix cited as evidence an August 2014 nationwide, scientific survey of adult Americans by the world-famous polling firm Gallup, Inc. Gallup found that Americans overall support Right to Work laws by a greater than three-to-one margin, while self-identified Democrats favor the Right to Work principle by more than two-to-one.
“Millions of Americans want a clear alternative to the relentless promotion of compulsory unionism by President Barack Obama and his administration,” declared Mr. Mix.
Federal Labor Laws Should Protect Freedom Not to Join A Union, or Be Scrapped
He summed up the Obama White House’s dismal record:
“Ever since he became President nearly seven years ago, Barack Obama has repeatedly championed Big Labor power grabs in Congress and appointed forced-unionism zealots to leadership positions at the National Labor Relations Board, the Labor Department, and other federal bureaucracies.
“A host of scientific surveys, of which the August 2014 Gallup poll is but one example, show the vast majority of Americans believe the Obama Administration is just plain wrong to support forcing workers to pay union dues or fees to get a job.
“Freedom-loving Americans don’t favor a federal policy of ‘neutrality’ on the question of whether or not workers should be corralled into unions.
“Instead, they believe all federal labor laws should either protect the individual worker’s right to join or not join a union, or be scrapped completely.”
Several GOP Candidates Are Already Actively Backing a National Right to Work Law
Mr. Mix noted that, among the 17 declared candidates for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination, several are already backing a national Right to Work law.
For example, Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.) is the lead sponsor of S.391, a measure that would repeal all current provisions in federal law authorizing the termination of employees for refusal to join or bankroll a union. And Sens. Ted Cruz (Texas) and Lindsey Graham (S.C.) are cosponsors of this measure.
Over the coming months, vowed Mr. Mix, Committee members in key primary states “will be doing everything they can to ensure as many presidential candidates as possible pledge to support Right to Work unabashedly if elected.”
The primary reason all candidates for the White House should support federal forced-dues repeal is that it is repugnant for the government to tell people which private organizations they must or must not support financially.
Job Growth Twice as Fast In Right to Work States
But pro-forced unionism federal labor policies also should be opposed because a wide array of evidence indicates they suppress job and income growth.
The disparate economic performance of the 25 states with Right to Work laws (explicitly permitted under the federal Taft-Hartley Act), which ban forced union dues and fees, and the 25 states without such laws provides a telling, though incomplete, gauge of the damage plainly wrought by compulsory unionism.
For example, aggregate private-sector payroll employment in states that had Right to Work laws on the books for the whole decade from 2004 to 2014 grew by 9.9%. That’s nearly double the overall increase experienced by states that still lacked Right to Work protections at the end of 2014.
Similarly, inflation-adjusted private-sector employee compensation (including bonuses and the dollar value of benefits as well as wages and salaries) grew by an average of 15.3% in states that continuously had Right to Work laws from 2004 to 2014.
Meanwhile, aggregate real private-sector compensation grew by just 8.4% in states that lacked Right to Work laws for the whole period.
Even Right to Work States Are Hurt by Federal Pro-Forced Unionism Policies
Mr. Mix observed: “While Right to Work states fare far better, the fact is that the whole country is harmed by the forced-dues provisions in the National Labor Relations Act and the Railway Labor Act.
“Union bosses funnel a huge portion of the forced dues and fees they collect with federal labor law’s abetment into politics.
“And the union-label politicians who routinely get elected and re-elected because of Big Labor’s forced dues-funded support overwhelmingly favor higher taxes and more red-tape regulation of business.
“This is true at the federal, state and local levels.
“Private-sector job growth in all 50 states, including Right to Work states, is hindered by the actions of Big Labor federal politicians.”
Mr. Mix said he was “optimistic” several more 2016 presidential hopefuls would soon take a public stand in favor of a federal Right to Work law.
“The fact is, the first three battleground states in the presidential primaries — Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina — are all home to extraordinarily vibrant, growing Right to Work movements,” Mr. Mix explained.
“All the 2016 candidates will have to take into account the large numbers of Iowans, New Hampshirites, and South Carolinians who regard Right to Work as a critical issue.
“Those who are savvy politicians, and aren’t so deep in hock to Big Labor that their freedom of action is constrained, should logically respond to the reality on the ground by enthusiastically backing a national Right to Work law.”