Will Senate Vote to Gag Right to Work Allies?

If he is still majority leader in 2025, Chuck Schumer could, with help from cohorts like Tammy Baldwin, Jon Tester, and Jacky Rosen (inset from left to right), deploy the “nuclear option” against Right to Work. (Credit: CQ-Roll Call, Inc. via Getty Image)

Scheme to Ban Extended Floor Debates Is Key 2024 Campaign Issue

Before Americans go to the polls this November, the National Right to Work Committee will ensure that millions of them do so fully aware of where their candidates stand on compulsory unionism.

“Now is when the politicians are paying the most attention to their grassroots constituents,” explained Committee Vice President Matthew Leen.

“After all, they’re the ones who will ultimately supply the votes needed to get them elected or reelected.

“That means politicians will be touting the achievements they think are popular, while seeking to downplay or avoid altogether the issues where they are most out of step with their constituents.

“This makes it the ideal time for the Committee to ramp up its citizen-mobilization program to expose the politicians who’ve defied the wishes of the eight in 10 Americans who believe union dues should be voluntary by supporting a nationwide ban of Right to Work!”

In the U.S. Senate elections this year, the results of a few potentially tight races will determine who controls the chamber in 2025 and 2026. The candidates in these contests, whether they are challengers or incumbents, have an especially strong incentive to pay heed to the wishes of grassroots citizens.

Vulnerable Senators Support Right to Work Ban

The Committee plans to let Right to Work supporters know where their federal politicians stand on the so-called “PRO Act,” a smorgasbord of special privileges for union bosses whose signature provision is the effective elimination of every state Right to Work law in the country.

Despite overwhelming national support for Right to Work laws that prevent workers from being forced to pay union dues or fees as a condition of employment, 47 senators currently cosponsor the PRO Act. 

That includes senators like Tammy Baldwin (Wis.) and Jacky Rosen (Nev.), who, though they could face tough reelection battles in Right to Work states this fall, nevertheless support a bill that would revoke their constituents’ protections against compulsory union dues. 

For the moment, of course, the PRO Act faces significant hurdles to its passage.

In today’s Congress, with the House of Representatives led by Speaker Mike Johnson (La.), a cosponsor of the National Right to Work Act, it is exceedingly unlikely the PRO Act would make it to President Joe Biden’s desk.

And even if Joe Biden is reelected and his allies take control of the House and retain control over the Senate, establishing a union-boss trifecta in the House, Senate and White House, similar to what Big Labor possessed for the two-year period following the 2020 elections, the PRO Act would need to overcome an additional obstacle.

Senate Filibuster Empowers Grassroots Activists 

Right to Work supporters currently have the ability under Senate rules to keep an extended debate going with the help of only a minority of senators — specifically, 41 out of 100.

Mr. Leen explained:

“Extended debates, otherwise known as filibusters, enable Right to Work advocates and other grassroots citizen groups to block special-interest legislation until an alerted public can defeat it directly.

“That’s why powerful union bosses have long wanted to bar extended Senate debates.”

Despite being a top objective for Big Labor’s trifecta in 2021-22, the PRO Act couldn’t be rammed through the Senate in the face of an inevitable extended debate. 

And, in the time since it was introduced, it has garnered an immense amount of grassroots opposition, thanks in part to the Committee’s mobilization efforts.

Besides putting the heat on wavering senators to not help the union hierarchy obliterate Right to Work protections for millions of American employees, the Committee has throughout the Biden years carried out an aggressive media program to raise public awareness of the PRO Act’s destructive impact.

By making dozens and dozens of guest appearances on national and local radio talk shows, and contributing op-eds to newspapers across the country, Committee President Mark Mix and other Right to Work officers have reached out to millions of citizens. And they have furnished them with information they might otherwise have missed.

Any attempt to pass the PRO Act will now have to happen over the objections of this informed citizenry.

Big Labor Senate Leader Wants Filibuster Gone

Frustrated and angered by the power it affords citizen activists like Right to Work supporters, in January 2022, Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (N.Y.) attempted to do away with the legislative filibuster.

Mr. Schumer’s weapon was a precedent established by the late Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) in 2013.

On paper, Rule XXII, which has been adopted by the Senate in every Congress for over a century, requires a two-thirds majority vote to end debate on a proposal to change the chamber’s procedures so that the proposal itself can be voted on.

But under the so-called “nuclear option” precedent set by Mr. Reid, a bare majority of senators can simply declare their intent to ignore the Rule XXII provision enabling a minority of senators to delay a final vote on nominations by conducting an extended debate.

Mr. Schumer sought to use the same ruse to eliminate legislative filibusters. He was overwhelmingly backed in this effort by Big Labor lobbyists. They clearly understood, if Mr. Schumer succeeded in this aim, enactment of the PRO Act would soon follow.

Shortly before the Senate vote on Mr. Schumer’s “nuclear option” scheme, Right to Work legislative staff contacted the offices of all 100 senators and told them what was at stake.

The messages explained how a vote against preserving the filibuster would be a vote against the Right to Work in all 50 states.

“Both because the Committee has 2.2 million members across the country, and because roughly 80% of Americans who regularly vote support the Right to Work principle, senators representing key ‘swing’ states knew they would be taking a substantial political risk by siding with Charles Schumer,” said Mr. Leen.

In the end, Mr. Schumer and 47 other senators voted to “carve out” the provision of Rule XXII that requires a two-thirds vote to change the chamber’s rules regarding Senate filibusters and pave the way not just for the PRO Act itself, but also for an array of other Big Labor power grabs.

Retirements Leave Filibuster Extremely Vulnerable

Harry Reid’s 2013 cynical maneuver could lead to elimination of all extended debates in the Senate. (Credit: Senate Democrats)

With Vice President Kamala Harris on the scene to break a tie, that means top union lobbyists fell just two votes short of completely taking over Washington, D.C.

Just two Democrat senators broke ranks with their party and foiled Mr. Schumer’s plot to kill the filibuster: Joe Manchin (W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz). In late 2022, Ms. Sinema formally became an “Independent.” And, with their respective terms expiring in January, neither Mr. Manchin nor Ms. Sinema is seeking reelection to the Senate.

“If Mr. Manchin and Ms. Sinema are replaced by Big Labor partisans who vote to kill the filibuster, the PRO Act may well be one of the first bills to move through the Senate in 2025,” warned Mr. Leen. 

“Right to Work will be on the ballot in November in more ways than one. 

“Freedom-loving citizens should know whether their candidates support the anti-Right to Work PRO Act, and whether they support a filibuster elimination that would almost certainly lead to the PRO Act’s passage.

“Filibuster repeal is bound to be a major issue in the 2024 campaign, and one that will ultimately determine whether workers in the 26 Right to Work states will continue to be protected against coerced union dues payments.”

This article was originally published in our monthly newsletter. Go here to access previous newsletter posts.

To support our cause and help end forced unionism, go here to donate.

NRTW Home » News » Will Senate Vote to Gag Right to Work Allies?